SEE ORIGINAL January 02, 2005 US Head Of Israel's B'Datz Mehadrin Kosher Supervision Resigns – Faults Israeli, US Supervisions' Handling Of Shechita-gate Rabbi Yehuda Shain, the USA representative for B’Datz Mehadrin Certification (Israel) has resigned over Israel's handling of the Rubashkin Shechita-gate Scandal:
Kosher Consumers Union
To the kosher consumers at large: Rabbi Yehuda Shain (the writer of this letter) was the USA representative & office manager for B’Datz Mehadrin Certification headquartered in Eretz Yisroel (directed by Rabbi Avrohom Rubin). Since the exposure at Rubashkin / Agri Processing we have taken an outspoken position which wasn’t in agreement with some others.
Rabbi M.M. Weismandel in the forefront with other kosher certifiers & Rabonim (all certifiers for Kosher at Rubashkin / Agri Processing) were constantly putting pressure on Rabbi Avrohom Rubin, who heads the B’Datz Mehadrin Certification (to maintain his support of the Shechitah and Kosher standards of Rubashkin / Agri Processing). Some 3 weeks ago I reluctantly conceded to Rabbi Rubin to grant Rabbi Weismandel a 2 week “timeout”.
Today Sunday, January 2, 2005 I was asked for more concessions of timeout, which I couldn’t agree in all fairness to the kosher consumers.
I therefore decided that in order for me to continue as always in uncovering and speaking the truth even against the mainstream, I will not (continue to) be the B’Datz Mehadrin’s USA representative and office manager.
I remain, Yudel Shain
Comments There is nothing at all shocking about Yehuda Shain's resignation. Yehuda Shain says that he is fearless in speaking the truth. If he is genuine then he will surely appreciate my fearlessness too.
Yehuda Shain is a rabble rouser who will stop short at nothing in his crusades. I remember as clear as day when following a visit by Rabbi Avrohom Rubin to Empire, Yehuda Shain circulated a letter around Lakewood purportedly from Rabbi Rubin attacking the kashrus at Empire. How embarrassing when Rabbi Rubin himself issued a denial that he was the author of the letter. Did Yehuda Shain fearlessly insist that the letter was genuine? No, he skipped town for a week until he felt that he felt that he had safely rode out the storm...
I do not claim to know whether Yehuda Shain is malicious or just misguided and I do not say that he never has a point but I know with certainty that he is totally unreliable and he has often manipulated the truth to suit the purposes of his campaigns. Is he leshem shomayim? If he is then he is even more dangerous...
In the Rubashkin case he has repeatedly attacked Rabbi Weissmandel with a tenuous and unproven mix of speculation and conjecture and it has finally come home to bite him. He is not resigning out of protest; he knows that after all his bomb throwing he no longer has a job. Posted by: Dov Wachmann | January 03, 2005 at 10:50 AM
Let's set the record straight. Rabbi Rubin did not issue a report on EMPIRE!
Rabbi Rubin was brought in to observe the GALIL Schechita certified by Rabbi Moshe Heinemann / Star-K, after I (Yudel Shain) challenged Rabbi Heineman that his Galil Schechita is suseptible to neveilos & treifos.
Rabbi Rubin's original report concluded that the GALIL schechita had a high incidence of Neveilos going out of the plant being certified as kasher by the Star-K.
Rabbi Rubin received from Rabbi Moshe Heineman a fax of a FORGED copy of his report with numerous changes and forgeries.
To that Rabbi Rubin wrote that the report is a forgery.
When the Star-K was caught, they ran to make their GALIL Schechita at EMPIRE.
Galil ultimately closed shop.
I did not leave town to run from anything or anyone.
Why did you have to keep all of this false information to yourself? You could have contacted me to learn the truth, unless you have no interest in the truth 'cause it hurts.
My reputation over the years has been "to speak the truth" not of being a liar.
I challenge anyone to tell me "how many times over the last 20 years that I was wrong on a kashrus issue".
I guess "Timtum-Halev" has really taken hold of you, I'm sorry to hear.
Since we both claim to be interested in the truth this should be very easy.
Let's first sift out the fact from the rhetoric by an analysis of where we agree and where we disagree and then I believe we can get agreement on how to establish the truth.
1) Fact. Rabbi Rubin visited a poultry shechita under Rabbi Heinemann's hashgocho. You seem to be saying that it was a Galil plant not co-located with Empire that only later moved to Empire. I say that while you are correct that it was Galil it was always co-located at an Empire plant.
2) Fact. You circulated a report in Lakewood that seemed to be Rabbi Rubin's report on the Galil shechita. Here we are in total agreement.
3) Fact. Rabbi Rubin issued a public and written denial of a report that was issued in his name. This denial was posted in the Lakewood Yeshiva. You say that you had circulated the original report and not a forgery but that Rabbi Heinemann faxed Rabbi Rubin an altered copy of the genuine report and claimed that you had been circulating the altered version. I say that if this is true then you ought to have gone back to Rabbi Rubin proved your version of events and have him publicly retract his earlier statement. As we both know he never retracted his statement.
3) Fact. After the publication of Rabbi Rubin's statement you were not in Lakewood. The oilem said that you left because you could not face the music. You say that you left town for other reasons. I say that if you are right about your involvement in the Rubin report then even if, contrary to your assertion, you really left Lakewood because you couldn't stand the heat I'll fully retract what I said about your involvement in the Rubin report but if you are wrong about your involvement then it won't help you even if you can prove that you left town for other reasons.
In other words the key question in the Rubin affair is, did you or did you not circulate an accurate version of the Rubin report. I am convinced that you circulated a forged report and that it's public knowledge that you did and that there was nothing to check with you because the facts are as clear as day. However, if as you contend you are right and I am wrong it should be relatively easy for you to prove. I challenge you for the sake of truth to go ahead and prove it.
Even more important is the issue of how reliable your judgement is on kashrus issues. I am not saying that you are an am ho'oretz. I am saying that you don't know how to accurately assess a situation and how to accurately represent it.
I am so convinced that this is the case that I challenge you to email me the name and contact information of even one widely respected Kashrus authority who believes that your characterizations are anything more than exaggeration and misrepresentation. If you can meet this challenge I will fully retract everything I have said about your reliability.
Lastly and not least I have nothing at all personally against you and I believe that if you were in my position you would be doing the same thing. I am absolutely convinced that I am right but, I am not G-d, and I can make mistakes. Take me at my word, I am ready to listen and I am ready to fully retract everything I have said. Ho'emes toir darkoh. Posted by: Dov Wachmann | January 03, 2005 at 01:12 PM
RE: Dov Wachman's response. I don't know where your information originates from but it's not correct.
1- Galil Schechita was located in NY State and had absolutely nothing to do with EMPIRE.
2- Rabbi Rubin did NOT issue any public denial, and there couldn't have been one posted in Lakewood Yeshiva. The correct facts are as follows: Rabbi Rubin wrote to Rabbi M. Genack (head of OU) "Tell Rabbi Heineman that I am very upset that certain individuals "diloi maali" are making forgeries of my reports & there are at least ..." and that was sent to Rabbi Genack privately.
3- Rabbi Heineman couldn't say that I was circulating a forged copy as # 1 Rabbi Heineman was the one who sent the original forged copy to Rabbi Rubin with a pretext of can you Rabbi Rubin please water down your report as it is too strong against the Star-K. 2nd of all I didn't get the forged copy till a few months later, so I couldn't circulate it.
4- Rabbi Rubin said I can't write anymore about the correct and the forged version 'cause they (Star-K) will have another document to do as they please (forgeries).
5- I checked on the dates of Rabbi Rubin's report and as far as I can remember I was in Lakewood after Rabbi Rubin's report was written and did not leave town per se, perhaps for a 1-3 day Hashgocha trip which I commonly do.
You can call Rabbi Rubin at his office in Eretz Yisroel and make your own verifications 011-972-89-390-816.
1) I will accept the burden of proof for my assertion that Galil was at the same plant as Empire. If I discover that I am wrong I will say so.
2) I remember seeing the letter posted publicly on the walls of the Yeshiva which is not contradicted in any way by your claim that it was initially a private letter. As you well know there are many ways that a private correspondence (for example the report itself) becomes public. I remember clearly that the understanding of those reading it at the time was that "inshi dlo maali" was referring to you.
3) I misunderstood you. I thought that you were saying that Rabbi Heinemann had blamed you for the forgery. You are really alleging, as you clarify, that Rabbi Heinemann cleverly and seemingly innocently sent Rabbi Rubin a forgery without blaming you directly in any way. Subsequently Rabbi Rubin condemned that forgery which made you look bad because everyone assumed that you were guilty of forgery. I agree with you that I should be able to verify this with Rabbi Rubin.
4) I should be able to verify this too with Rabbi Rubin.
5) As I said the greater issue than why or even whether you were absent is whether the report you circulated was genuine or forged. I was convinced that it was forged but you insist that it was genuine and you assert that I can verify that by discussing it with Rabbi Rubin.
In deference to your comments I will observe a time-out until I can verify what is true here. If I am wrong as I wrote earlier I will get back to wherever I have posted my comments and I will retract any and all inaccuracies. Posted by: Dov Wachmann | January 03, 2005 at 03:28 PM
Further to Dov Wachmann's comments and wrong information;
A little bit of common sense would be in order,
Rabbi Rubin's original report was the stronger version and the forged one was the watered down copy.
Why in the world would I have an interest in publicizing a watered down version, when I was the one that started the whole thing "that it's an unacceptable system at Galil?
Second of all if I had anything to do with the forged production why would Rabbi Rubin have me represent him & direct his office in the USA & S. America for all these years?
It's not a secret that Rabbi Rubin doesn't use Star-K ingredients or products all these years, you can even ask Rabbi Heineman. If The Star-K is the innocent one Rabbi Rubin would feel comfortable with their products.
It's time to wake up and smell the coffee. I can imagine your let down when you'll realize you were living b'tois all these years, like Reb Chaim Shmuelivetz explains the Posuk "va'yechrad Yitzchok choradah gedolah ad mi'oid", 'cause he lived bi'tois all his life in regard to Eisav.
As I wrote earlier I have no axe to grind and there is nothing personal here. I have no negius here at all. My opinion on the Rubin affair is totally based on my recollection of it. It is certainly possible that I got it wrong all these years and if I did then I will be glad to finally discover the truth.
The same is true for my opinion on your judgement. Perhaps Rabbi Rubin will confirm your assertion that you are reliable in which case once again I will be glad to discover the truth. Posted by: Dov Wachmann | January 03, 2005 at 05:14 PM
I received email from a Rabbi who runs a local supervising agency in the NY area which began with the following quote,
"I am not endorsing Rabbi Yudel Shain and his alarms against certain kashrus supevisions BUT galil was the former Falls chicken plant in the mountains"
Now that he reminds me, yes, you are correct Galil was not together with Empire, more correctly Rabbi Rubin had also separately visited the Empire plant in the same trip to America (which may have been the source of the confusion together with the fact that Galil eventually moved into the Empire plant) but more on Rabbi Rubin's visit in my next post. More also in my next post about the lack of the above Rabbi's or to date any Rabbi's endorsement for your campaigns against other supervisions.
But for this post I will conclude by, as promised, and my excuses notwithstanding, conceding that I was wrong about the location of the Galil plant. Posted by: Dov Wachmann | January 04, 2005 at 03:42 AM
I spoke to Rabbi Rubin who was willing to discuss what I have been referring to as the "Rubin affair", he was willing to discuss his experience with your work for Badatz but he refused to comment on your complaints about other supervisions in general and Rubashkin in particular.
He said that he had been brought to America to report to the O-U on Galil and Empire. He had written a report addressed only to Rabbi Genack. He said that you had an accurate copy of the report and that it was that copy that you had, on your own initiative, circulated in Lakewood.
I'll stop right there, for a moment, because this is important. For years I was convinced, wrongly, that you had forged the report and I was convinced that furthermore it was public knowledge that you had forged it. Based on that "knowledge" I charged with full certainty that there was nothing you would stop short of to pursue your objectives. Perhaps rumours had swelled to the effect that you had forged the report, perhaps I had just misunderstood the chain of events at the time but, either way, I was wrong and I take it back. You didn't forge the report and, it turns out, I shouldn't have accused you falsely. Posted by: Dov Wachmann | January 04, 2005 at 04:36 AM
Rabbi Rubin added that as far as your work for Badatz, he never encountered any problems. However, try as I might he refused to comment in any way on the reliability of your attacks on others. This is central to the entire discussion.
I received email feedback from one Rabbi as I mentioned above and he wouldn't endorse your attacks. Another Rabbi who works for a big Kashrus Organization felt that there was far too much of a conspiracy mentality in your attacks. He says that once you find one shortcoming in an individual or organisation you suspect them of being perpetually malicious. That's not a particularly ringing endorsement either.
So, on this question at least, we are back to square one. I challenge you again to email me the name and contact information of even one widely respected Kashrus authority who believes that your attacks are anything more than exaggeration and misrepresentation? Posted by: Dov Wachmann | January 04, 2005 at 04:42 AM
Further to Dov Wachman;
After all is said and very hesitant partial admissions of wrong information, because you mixed up 1 thing with another etc. We will from here on address the one item that should be addressed "My current & previous reports on the current & previous kashrus issues with the Rubashkin's plant".
I haven't seen from anyone a challenge to any of my allegations. I am wondering if Dov Wachman saw the web video or an actual cd or vhs video. If he only saw what was on the web, sorry to say it is very unclear. I have cd copies which one can review.
Based on what I have seen on the cd/video and my references in the Halacha, I have yet to see a challenge to the allegations.
By the way in the letter of the "12 Rabbis" it doesn't say that they agree that its kosher. They are referencing 1 issue only "was it a schechita?"
Message to Dov Wachman: I am astonished at your lack of contrition for your defamation of Rav Shain. You were guilty of so many aveiros regarding him that it is hard to see what kapparah will be sufficient. You chastise him for his alleged "conspiracist" outlook and etc. - yet you yourself were so "sure" of everything that you believed in, and it was all wrong. You certainly must ask Rav Shain for mechila -I am not even sure that he has to be mochel you. As far as Rav Shain's credibility, I can attest that (as a person involved in the kashrus field for many years) he is definitely not a liar or fabricator...I do think that he has a tendency to stay with an issue for perhaps an overly long time (for example, his consistent hammering over time on events that happened in SOuth Africa long ago) but Rav Shain is someone who has to be taken seriously, and cannot be lightly dismissed without attention to the issues he raises. Posted by: sandman | January 04, 2005 at 01:58 PM
Can you confirm that you did in fact resign over this principle and were not instead fired by Rabbi Rubin due to your actions?
Sandman, On reflection one thing I am guilty of is the hypocrisy of using Yehuda Shain's own bomb throwing tactics while at the same time attacking him for using such tactics. Only G-d has a right to use midoh k'neged midoh and so in retrospect I have to say that a more level-headed approach would have been more consistent with the point I am making.
As far as asking for mechila for undermining his credibility I stand by all of what I have said other than the forgeries. Yehuda Shain of course senses correctly that I have been cautious and deliberate in my retractions and there is a reason for it.
The essential problem with Yehuda Shain is that he is very cunning and manipulative but somehow convinces himself all the while that he's nevertheless telling the truth or at least using a means to a greater end.
The real topic of this thread was his alleged resignation from Badatz to protect the US Kosher consumer. If you look at my last sentence in my original posting it read, "He is not resigning out of protest he knows that after all his bomb throwing he no longer has a job." It's no accident that he studiously avoided responding to that part of my post instead making a mountain out of the molehill of where the Galil plant was located. Then when he thought he had me on the run he insisted on manipulating the discussion solely towards the Rubashkin video. He probably thought that he'd get away with it.
Well, he won't. I have a copy of Rabbi Rubin's letter dismissing Yehuda Shain. I can send it to you and any and all that are interested. He is distorting the truth when he says that he resigned. Or in plain English lying.
Not only that I have much more to add and soon I will. He was innocent on forging the Galil letter but he is guilty of so many other distortions of truth.
However, that said I am temporarily making a compromise between a renewed attack without giving much acknowledgement to my own mistakes and a whole hearted retraction which he does not deserve and so I am giving my posts some pause in recognition that I myself made a factual error. But I will be back. Posted by: Dov Wachmann | January 04, 2005 at 05:24 PM
One other issue that R' Shain might want to address is whether he fraudulently misrepresented the words of Israeli Gedolim in order to pretend that they had endorsed his candidacy for Lakewood Township committee, in the recent election. In response to his misleading advertising, the Lakewood Roshei Yeshiva put up a sign announcing that they had contacted the referenced gedolim who confirmed that they had not in fact made any endorsement. Posted by: Fotheringay-Phipps | January 05, 2005 at 08:24 AM
What is all of this rehd doing online for the whole world to see? Don't you people have any shame? Isn't this loshon hora and/or rechilus, since SOMEONE is surely mistaken in this barrage of accusations and counteraccusation involving numerous rabbis?
Don't you people have telephones? Why not call each other, straighten out your misunderstandings privately, and then make a simple public statement that is borur u'meduyok? Posted by: Sy Phenomenon | January 06, 2005 at 06:43 PM
1) R' Shain forced the issue with his public accusations.
Is Yhuda Shain A Rav or a Possek? Is he at least he bound to listen to ANY Dass torah? What are his Credentials? Only that he is anti Chabad? Anti everybody that does not listen to him, that is enough to legitimize him? When was the last time he was at Agri? (14 years back) Who is source of info? Is it not that he has a personal agenda with the Rubashkins? And he feels committed to destroy them. He is definitely not saying the truth if he changes opinions on Rabbis, for not going along his line Is there ONE Rav or Rosh Yeshiva is his home town Lakewood that can vouch for him? Or even ONE Rav over the whole world that will approve of this Gentleman Posted by: Yakov Gross | January 16, 2005 at 09:52 AM
I have spoken to Rabbi Shain in the past and was very impressed by him. I believe je was the one that solved a Bishul Akum problem by inventing a telephone switch that approved by Rav Elyashiv where a Jew may call a remote plant and make it Bishul Yisroel. As far as the alarmist issues brought up by R' Wachmann, there is a Drashos HaRan which states that a community board of leaders requires a multiplicity and variegated voices. A community board requires a spendthrift and a miser and regular people as well. He compares it to the Ktores. In the years prior to WWII Churchill was viewed as a warmongering alarmist. I think that Rabbi Shain makes an important contribution and were it not for him kashrus would not be of the quality that it is today. He is responsible for many changes, and for people taking their jobs more seriously because someone is watching. Another time I spoke to him about canned vegetables w/o hechsherim, and he was right on the money. Eventually the OU switched its policies on that. BeKitzur, the Ran is the way to go. Yair Hoffman Posted by: YHoffman | January 18, 2005 at 07:52 AM
If this is the Rabbi Shain from Lakewood who has been circulating pashkvilin [public letters or posters] against Lubavitch for the last several years, then he has no business in Kashrus. I've read the letters, all with no names and but plenty of innuendo. "The Rav hamachshir told me the plant (Agriprocessors) isn't kosher but he fears for his life if he were to publicly announce it." And instead of trying to improve the alleged problems he would prefer to sit back and bad mouth them, he is not an aid to kashrus he is an impediment and the kosher consumer will be better off without him. This not a Pashkvil like Shain's. I sign my name. Dovid Shatz, Monsey, NY Posted by: Dovid Shatz | February 06, 2005 at 05:41 AM