Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Point

As this story begins to extend in its reach to the public, I would like to stress the point and the goal of my entire campaign.

The Chef at Le Marais had on several occasions tampered with the Kashrut. Examples include, ordering shellfish, buying and smuggling dairy margarine, lighting the pilot of the ovens (not bishul yisrael), using strawberries that were not checked by the mashgiach when he was well aware that A) it had to be checked by the mashgiach first and B) that it was not in fact checked. This was an occurence that was witnessed by one of the kitchen workers, and when he brought it up to the chef and the owner, it is then when the chef lunged at me as if to attack me only to be held back by the owner himself. It is also ironic, or perhaps it isn't, that when I later checked the strawberries I found several worms in them.

If this was an ordinary chef with no past experience in the kosher restaurant business, perhaps after the first or second time it could be excused as innocent mistakes. The fact however that this chef is not only someone with plenty years of experience under his belt in the Kosher Food business, but is also someone that was just fired by Levanas Restaurant prior to his employment at Le Marais, also for Kashrut tampering (which they continue to deny for obvious reasons.. see letters at site to understand).

So to get to my point. THE CHEF MUST GO. The problem is, while I spent six months on an OU rollercoaster, they had digressed from the real issue. The fact that there is a cover up going on at the OU is secondary to the FACT that there is STILL a JEW HATING CHEF (as rabbi schreier referred to him, which he later admitted, then denied, and admitted that perhaps he forgot that he admitted or denied) that is in a "Kosher Kitchen" and may very well be tampering with the kashrut as we speak. For every time he was caught red-handed, I can only imagine how many times he wasn't caught.

And this is the problem. This is the Goal. He must be fired. Immediately. This is first issue, before we move onto questioning the credibility of the OU and their methods. This must be demanded.

Are you willing to take the risk that this chef is spiking your kosher food? Well, the owner of Le Marais "Jose" told me "yes, I am taking a risk, but in my business we take risks". Well, isn't it lovely that the GOY owner is willing to take risks with Kashrut at the behest of his unsuspecting jewish clientelle?

Many are telling me, they spoke to the OU and they said everything is fine. WOW, I am shocked. If I spent six months (and when I say six months, that means that every minute when I wasnt actually in the kitchen, i was writing reports and letters at the request of the OU (which itself was an attempt to "yank my chain") and all that was to no avail, why would anyone expect them to concede and admit their inequities?

So, It is at my site that I present the facts in their bare state. I will prove to anyone willing to be open, listen and to read, that this is a grave situation that must be dealt with utmost severity.

So, please, check out the information. Comment. Ask. Express your concern, and I will address it all, as I am confident that I have what I need to prove this kashrut crisis.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

PS I would suggest that until this is resolved, you forgo eating at Le Marais.


Anonymous Chani Steiner said...

This is an outrage, I think if the chef committed these acts there should be no hesitation in firing this chef. I dont get what the big deal it is to get a new chef.

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good job. Wish we all had the guts to speak out against deceptive cheaters and liars! May Hashem be with you always! Haslaha!

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If only 99% of the story is true, then we all should not eat there. There is no sacrifice for Kashrus.
The story sounds way out there, how often do we find bugs in strawberries that just the ones he picked up had them. But on the other hand where there is smoke there is usually fire.

There are enough other kosher establishments that until ou makes a public statement I am staying away. I think ou needs to address all the points and assure khal yisroel that there is no hashash for any wrong doing there.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the problem here is ou not ;am maraise. if they covered this up. how are we supposed to trust them. they put this mashgiach their for the reason of making sure everything is kosher. guess what it wasn't and they did nothing. so if all they do is send mashgiachs and don't really care what the restaurant owners or chefs do whats teh point. to say its ou, and its kosher. its not . ita all a pack of lies. the head rabbis should step down and honestly we cant trust ou. this is a big deal. dont look at it like a small thing. a few months ago a butcher i believe was accused of selling non kosher chicken. the community put a chrem on him. why because he isnt rich or power full like ou. same rules should apply. don't look at them any differently because they have moeny and power. the head rabies and the ou company are not true g-d fearing people. if they where they would not let it get this far. they would have forced the restaurant owner to fire teh chef and remove the kashrut from the,. i don't just ou and neither should you. they fed us non kosher food. they are our eyes in the restaurants to make sure everything is kosher and guess what . they dont really care. but they will tell you some one isn't kosher if they don't shell out teh money they request. 1 big mafia. im sorry to say it but it is . don't be ignorant about how they act acted or will act. the head rabbis must step down.

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My opinion is that if even 1% of this is true then we should stay away untill ou comes clean and gives a joint statement with Rabbi Bitton explaining what went down and how they are cleaning up the situation.... THIS IS DISGUSTING AND AN EMBARRESMENT !!!

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yitzhak Bitton, from one Sepharadi Tahor (aram Soba) to another (judging by your name) WELL SAID- lets get these apikorsim at OU publicized at punished for being machshil the rabim....

11:38 AM  
Blogger Joey said...

What I find even more disturbing than the kashrut violations or alleged violations, is the very apparent political nature and infighting of what is supposed to be one of the bedrock communal institutions of the religious community in New York, the O-U.

11:56 AM  
Blogger wbd015 said...

As previous posters have commented, even if a small percentage of the story is true, it should activate questions of La Marais' kashrus validity.

At that point, one should turn to their respected halachic AND hashkafik authority - ideally the same person, to determine a course of action.

I am blessed with such upstanding people in my life, but many of you, unfortunately, are not.

Without a Rav or Madrich, reading such stories leaves one feeling betrayed, bewildered and lost.

The story is not shocking, just another wake up call. We can no longer buy something becuase it has a stamp "Approved By Major Poskim" - such as the shabbos lamp. What does that mean? Minor poskim have problems with using it on shabbos? What is a major posek? What is a big posek? Overweight? We walk into a food establishment and see common names like Rabbi Gornish - but who is he? I've never met him. Is he reliable? Your friend said he's reliable, because he heard from his friend who heard form his friend, who trusts the name because it is everyhwere - so it must be good.
(Just for the record, the shabbos lamp is halachically usable on shabbos according to my posek, but one must be extremely careful to only turn the shade and to never move the base on shabbos.)

So maybe it's a round-about lesson, but I say that Rabbi this and Rabbi that at the OU or CRC is very nice, but is it an "Aseh lecha Rav"?

I think not. I hope everyone makes it thier business to make for themselves such a relationship - and quickly.

(Choose wisely!)

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the best way-and only wy to make sure the situation is corrected- is to boycott the establishment. The they won't need the chef to start with! I can't beleive the OU would stand up for a non jewish chef over their own mashgiach!!

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 1138
bitton is a morroccan name not aram soba which us alleppo.anyway i think this mashgiah is neither hes lubavitch

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read and use it as your guide. If it does not meet your standards, or you smell a rat don't eat it!

Take stands. Stand up for what is right--money, kashrut, abuse.

Grassroots organizations will overpower the powers that be.

Let's organize by not supporting these creepy hashgochos.

Chezkas Kashruth anyday to thuggery

5:14 PM  
Blogger Yehuda Shain said...

Some questions if I may.
what other food service establishment did you serve as a Mashgiach?
Where did you get your Mashgiach training? When?

When you found the chef lit the pilot, did you kasher to pot(s)?

Did you kasher the utensils or oven when he used dairy in the fleishig utensils?

If in the afirmative?, did the OU authorize you to kasher or did they send someone else to kasher?

How was the the checking of vegetables at the restaurant (was it an acceptable standard). Did the chef also use unchecked vegetables etc.

Two & a half years is a long time to keep going in such an enviroment.

Did you work previously for any other kosher orginazations? if yes which ones?

How were their standards & backing a Mashgiach?

Who paid the Mashgiach? The OU or the Restaurant?

Are you employeed now as a Mashgiach?

Will you be this year a mashgiach in a Pesach hotel?

What does the OU say now that you went public?

My limited experience with Rabbi Shreier has not been what you describe, but I am open to hear facts. Is it possible that his hands were tied for various reasons?

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My opinion is that if even 1% of this is true then we should stay away untill ou comes clean and gives a joint statement with Rabbi Bitton explaining what went down and how they are cleaning up the situation.... THIS IS DISGUSTING AND AN EMBARRESMENT !!!



8:32 PM  
Anonymous Yossi Ch. said...

Go Eat in Kosher Delight!!
I like the sessame chicken there!

B'H i was in me-marie (or whatever it is), 3 years ago, b4 the scandal!!

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Rabbi Bitton,

Kol Hakavod to YOU!!!It is hard to stand up for what is right and to fulfill your halachic obligation to warn the public. My family has received numerous threats of violence in response to my doing so.

The Gentile owner of one caterer sent workers to terrorize my children at work and at school and we have been threatened by phone and in person. Rabbi Levy of the OK has continuously threatened to sue any organization that has hired my husband.

The things that you report I have seen with my own eyes in several different places under the OU, the OK and others. I have personally witnessed Gentiles cooking on Shabbat while a "mashgiach" watched. I have seen Gentiles cooking non kosher meat and non kosher fish in "supervised" kitchens.

I have seen Gentile workers cutting up unwashed unchecked Romaine lettuce right in front of the "Rabbis" who were "supervising" them.

I have known of absolute hames being cooked and served to 1500 people under "strict" supervision (non gebrokts) with full knowledge of the supervising Rabbi.

I have seen Gentiles cooking soup and boiling water for coffee on Shabbat so many times and in so many places.

If you want a kosher meal, you have to either eat at home or eat from another Jew whom you trust.

Kashrus supervision is a business. Anytime a "Rabbi" is paid to be a judge, he cannot help but to judge in favor of those who are paying him. Few are those who can stand up and tell the truth.

For this, Rabbi Bitton, you are to be blessed!!May Hashem bless you and your family with every possible beracha. May you be rewarded for your love of Hashem both in this world and in the next.

Hag Kasher v'Sameah!!!

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The OK has a Mashgiah at Kastners in Surfside, named Ovadiah Darzi.
He is the son of a Jewish man and a Gentile woman. When Don Yoel Levy found out that he was not Jewish in the Fall of 2005, the response was "this is an unfortunate problem that we are looking into".

As far as I know, he is still the Mashgiach there.

Do you think that was Rabbi Bitton is saying is limited to Le Marais or the OU???

8:56 AM  
Blogger Sholom said...

Will the K. family validate your claim that the chef was fired for Kashrus violations? If they do, then the OU has no excuse for giving Le Marais a Te'uda while he was working there.
That is, no excuse other than money.
Have you read "The Secret Life of Pumpernickel"?

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is this Rabbi Elefant....I think there are more scandals involving him , from his past....For any of you who know,..Is he a heavy set white bearded guy? Please advise

7:16 PM  
Blogger sarahyy said...


You're bringing Honor to your people in fighting this cause and preventing the Klal Israel against one of the worst and most irreparable sin for a Jew : Eating non cosher food ...
I don't see what would be your reasons for leaving your job and going through so much adversity if it was not for your integrity as a Jew , as a trustworthy Mashguiah , as a man of valor and moral with such a strong sense of Ethic .
I don't believe you would be such a fool that you would misjudge the situation to the point that you would go through such a trial for enigmatic, neurotic , or personal reasons .
It takes courage and guts to do what you are doing .
I am proud to know at least that one of you ( mashguiah !) is more afraid of G. d than intimidation of any kind .
All that being said , I wonder how you are going to overcome the cost of such a trial , knowing that it is the battle of David against Golliath , and that it could be financially exhausting for you on the long run .
Why is it that you don't give the opportunity to good G. d fearing people to help you with donations of Tsedaka or Maaser to help you ?
I would be the first one to enlist ( despite my modest ability to help ) if only you would give an email adress to do so .
After all , it would be for everyone of us a beautiful opportunity to Honor the Name of Hashem and bring some light into a world of injustice or corruption .
It would also be a way , to show our appreciation for what you did for us all .
G.d bless you and your whole family for such a Kiddush Hashem .
I trust you Mr Bitton .

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


For those who may be unaware, the scum RICHARD KLASS and owner of le marais JOSE were able to adjourn for a week, which buys them more time to shut Mr. Bitton up. Luckily, they cant do it forever, and when its lifted, the truth will come flying out. In the meantime please donate to the legal fund that has been setup, so we can help Mr Bitton fight against the cowards at le marais and the OU.

The paypal link is below. You can begin passing it

Thanks again.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think everyone that was involved with this story should be fired the rabbis at the ou aswell until then i dont think we should eat anything from the ou anymore until they get fired and bring new rabbis that we can trust this is crazy

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if the rabbis new about this and let us eat at le marais ....i think they should be the first to be fired ....i dont think i can trust *OU* anymore ,i also think the ou should go public and tel the truth ,and no more lies........... after firing this rabbis that lie for money......yes money...... this is a disgrace for all klal israel....if the ou refuses to go public it means they have something to hide......and we cant trust them anymore....please god help the way i dont know mr bitton ,but i trust him because he had nothing to gain from this story ,he only lost....but by doing so you made us all winners....and god will reward you for what you done ..i know it was not easy ....may hashem bless you and your familly..and please dont loose hope because we are all with you...thank you

1:47 PM  

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