June 25, 2012

Competition for Kosher Traveler in Poland Goes Beyond the Food

WARSAW -- Jews by the planeloads are making pilgrimages to visit Poland, a land where Jews thrived for 1,000 years before its demise in the Holocaust. The itinerary for most visitors includes the death camps at Auschwitz and Dachau amongst others, and the Jewish gravesites of many Jewish luminaries as well as some remaining synagogues. The booming kosher tourist trade has also brought with it kosher tour operators and kosher caterers, so much so that the competition has turned extremely nasty. 

Kosher Delight, a kosher caterer in Poland with a state-of-the-art commissary in Lodz and facilities in cities like Warsaw and Krakow was accused of violating kosher standards, at a time “when it is the only kosher caterer in Poland to be certified by a leading certifier in Israel, Chug Chasam Sofer,” according to its owner Pinchas Etziony. 

Its prestigious rabbinic head, Rabbi Dov Landau, rejected the claims arguing that he personally visits the catering establishments periodically and the facilities are supervised by three “mashgichim” (kosher supervisors). 

Kosher Today has learned that a kosher supervisor, who was said to be a source of the allegations that kosher standards were being compromised by Kosher Delight, has written that his name was falsified and that he never made such claims. The campaign against Kosher Delight included rumors that the well-known Skver Chasidic group, based in Upstate New York, had cancelled an arrangement with Kosher Delight during its visit to Poland several days ago. That too proved false as Kosher Delight served all of the food during the group’s visit to Krakow. 

The Chasidic group is known for its adherence to high kosher standards.