Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rosenberg Beis Din Judgments Confirmed by Court After 2 1/2 Year Battle

Four years after the community submitted all it's disagreements to the Beis Din Zabla in order to bring peace to the kehila, the secular Courts have finally confirmed the Beis Din findings and entered them as binding judgments.  The Judge's Decision and Judgment is posted in the tabs above.

The major findings of Judge Rothenberg's Decision are:

  1. The Psak Din of the Rosenberg Zabla is confirmed in its entirety, except for paragraph 48 (see Psak Din above) concerning the Vaad HaKashrus.  This means that all the findings of the Beis Din Zabla are considered binding by the Courts.
  2. The Psak Din of the the Rosenberg Zabla concerning Rabbi Braun is confirmed in its entirety.  This means that all the findings of the Beis Din Zabla are considered binding by the Courts: Rabbi Braun's qualifications are proper, his election is proper, and the Beis Din consists of the three Rabbonim, Rabbi Osdoba, Rabbi Schwei and Rabbi Braun.  Whatever the majority of the Beis Din decide upon is valid.
  3. The issues of Kashrus, including the members of the Vaad HaKashrus, although they were decided upon by a majority of the Beis Din, must be sent back to the Rosenberg Zabla for a final decision.  This is because the Psak Din says that:
After the elections, every directive that will be issued by the Rabbinical Court [in writing or verbally] shall be unanimous, and when there are differences of opinion it shall be the majority opinion, and the minority must acquiesce its opinion to the opinion of the majority.
The Judge apparently understands the words "the minority must acquiesce its opinion to the majority" as a requirement that Rabbi Osdoba must say or do something to signify his agreement. The Judge said [page 11] that "Rabbi Osdoba ... did not indicate in any manner that he has acquiesced in the majority opinion."  
While most people would disagree and think these words simply mean that Rabbi Osdoba must accept the opinion of the other Rabbonim when he is in the minority, and abide by the majority decision, the Judge has sent the issue back to the Rosenberg Beis Din to issue their decision about Kashrus.
As far as the status of reconvening the Rosenberg Beis Din Zabla, Rabbi Osdoba's group has finally paid its outstanding bill for the prior Din Torah.  There is no word about dates for the new deliberations.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Court Hearing on Kashrus Case - 9/12/13 - No Date For Din Torah

The Court proceedings today lasted for only a matter of minutes.  Judge Rothenberg was told that the Osdoba group did not yet pay the money they owe to the Rosenberg Beis Din Zabla, and, therefore, Rabbi Rosenberg was not willing to discuss dates for further proceedings.

The Judge appeared angry and annoyed.  She was unwilling to listen to the excuses of Rabbi Osdoba's lawyer.  She said she expected to have a date for the Beis Din proceedings, as the Osdoba group had been told to make the necessary financial arrangements, and they had agreed to do so.   Since they failed to comply with her order and failed to do what they agreed to do, she said she would now make her decision and would issue it in writing.  The Judge noted, however, that, should she receive word that there is a date scheduled for the Beis Din arbitration to proceed, she would consider delaying issuing her ruling until after the Din Torah.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Court Hearing on Status of Vaad HaKashrus Beginning August 21

Note: The nature of this site is to compile important information about community affairs that can be used as a reference; it is not a news site and we do not try to be the first to post the latest news. Therefore, since this Court action is ongoing and developing, we will update this post when there is additional news.  We will not necessarily make a new post, so you may wish to check this post periodically for updates, and we will try to make it clear when there is an update as follows:



The August 21st Court Hearing was scheduled to hear arguments about the validity of the recent appointment of a Vaad HaKashrus (VHK) by the Crown Heights Beis Din and the Vaad HaKohol. [See the tab above on the "PsakDin Court Case - Kashrus Motion 7/4/13.] The Vaad HaKohol is presenting the point of view that the VHK is appointed by the Vaad HaKohol, and reports to them;  they are not an independent organization.  Rabbi Osdoba's lawyers are tryiing to argue that the VHK is a seperate corporation, and neither the Beis Din nor the Vaad HaKohol have the power to appoint them.

The Hearing began on the 21st, lasted the whole day, and continued on the 22nd for the whole day. Because there are a number of motions and Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs) before the Court, the lawyers of both sides will meet with the Judge on the 23rd in order to deal with them.  The Hearing will continue listening to testimony from witnesses on September 9th.

Events of August 21

The first day of hearings  began with procedural matters.  The Judge discusssed her order for both parties to go back to Rabbi Rosenberg's Beis Din to resolve certain matters, specifically related to Kashrus, which the Judge felt was not clearly resolved in the Psak Din.  The Vaad HaKohol's lawyers accused Rabbi Osdoba's side of deliberately delaying and preventing returning to Beis Din by making conditions, and by manufacturing delays.  Rabbi Osdoba's lawyer announced that there would be no more delays, they are willing to go to Beis Din without making any conditions, and they would abide by the Psak Din.  The Judge said that, should she send the parties back to Rabbi Rosenberg Beis Din, should anyone delay, etc., that side would be ruled against in Court.

There were then discussions about which witnesses would be required to testify.  The Judge made it clear that all witnesses who were sent a subpoena must appear in Court unless there were extenuating circumstances.  There was specific discussion about Rabbi Osdoba, with his lawyers arguing that he should not be made to testify in Court.  The Judge ruled that he must come.

A discussion took place about which side would present their case first, and it was ruled that, since Rabbi Osdoba's lawyers had requested the hearing to determine the validity of the new VHK, they would make their case first.  They called Beryl Levertov as their first witness.  He testified that he is in charge of the VHK, that he has been so for many years, and that he determines which hechserim he gives.  He reported that Rabbi Osdoba's role on the VHK is very limited, essentially to answering halachic questions that may arise that Levertov brings him.  

The Vaad HaKohol's lawyers then began their cross-examination, which continued until the end of the day, and was adjourned to be continued the next day, August 22.  The questioning concerned who Levertov reported to, trying to make it clear that the Vaad HaKohol, and the Rabbonim on the Beis Din, controlled the VHK.

Events of August 22

On April 22nd, Levertov's testimony was interrupted to allow one of the Vaad HaKohol' witnesses, Rabbi Spielman to testify, (because he had to leave early to attend his granddaughter's wedding).  Levertov then continued his testimony.

After Levertov's questioning was finished, the Osdoba lawyers called their second witness, Yanki Herzog. Although the Osdoba lawyer's called Herzog, he is known as a "hostile witness" since he favors the Vaad HaKohol's point of view.  He is still in the middle of his testimony, and will resume at the next hearing date on September 9.

Both Rabbi Spielman and Yanki Herzog testified that the Vaad HaKashrus is formed by, and reports to, the Vaad HaKohol for administrative matters, and is supevised by the Crown Heights Beis Din regarding questions of Jewish law.

Events of August 23

The hearing today was between Judge Rothenberg and the attorneys for both sides.  A number of developments took place:
  • Judge Rothenberg ordered both parties back to Rabbi Rosenberg's Beis Din within 90 days for a continuation of the Din Torah.  She requested documentation from Rabbi Rosenberg by October 12th that Rabbi Osdoba's side has agreed to all the conditions he set, and that payment arrangements are made.
  • No more witnesses will be called and no more testimony will be taken for now.  The hearing on September 9 will continue the lawyers' battles on the outstanding motions, including the motions each side has against the other for contempt of court and sanctions.
  • The Levertov Vaad HaKashrus can continue operations in the meantime, however, they must send a copy of each check that they write to the new Vaad HaKohol's Vaad HaKashrus, and the Judge wants to see a weekly report of their financial activity.
  • Judge Rothenberg noted that the statement made on the CHK logo,

that it is under the supervision of the Crown Heights Beis Din, is false and amounts to consumer fraud. She strongly recommended that it be removed from the CHK symbol immediately.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Results of August 15 Court Hearing - Judge Rothenberg's Court Order

After a whole day Court Hearing concerning the Kashrus motions in the Psak Din court case, here is the Court Order that represents the Judge's decision, until the Hearing next week on August 21:

It reads as follows:
  1. All restraining notices with respect to the July 11, 2013 Order shall be withdrawn forthwith, with proof of service of notice of withdrawal to be filed with the Court.
  2. The TRO [Temporary Restraining Order] granted August 1, 2013 is hereby modified by deletion of the requirement that checks be countersigned.  All other reliefs are continued.
  3. The VHCH, Inc. may pay expenses only in the ordinary course of business pending the hearing to be held on August 21, 2013.


To understand the significance of this, a brief review is in order.  
  1. This Court Case has been dragging on for several years.  It is about confirming the Psak Din of the Rosenberg Beis Din Zabla in the Courts, so that the Court can enforce the decisions of the Beis Din.
  2. When the original motion to confirm the Psak Din was made, the request to enforce the psak that Kashrus is administratively under the Vaad HaKohol was specified as part of the case.  This would mean that Rabbi Osdoba would have to transfer control of Kashrus to the Vaad HaKohol, and that the other Rabbonim, Rabbi Schwei and Rabbi Braun, would be involved in the kosher supervision.
  3. Rabbi Osdoba's lawyers have fought to prevent the transfer of Kashrus and the recording of the Psak Din in the Courts.
  4. The Judge has, since June of 2012, ordered that everyone go back to Beis Din to clarify what the Psak Din says about the Vaad HaKashrus and related matters.
  5. After much delay, apparently by the Rabbi Osdoba side, the Vaad HaKohol formed a new Vaad HaKashrus that was accepted by the majority of the Beis Din (it was accepted by Rabbi Schwei and Rabbi Braun).  This new Vaad HaKashrus was presented to the Court with a request that the Court give them control of the CHK. 
  6. On July 11, 2013, Judge Rothenberg odered that:

[T]he Osdoba respondents shall deposit forthwith, with the Court all reserve and/or monies received or held by Va'ad Hakashrus entities and/or their [unreadable] (Vaad Hakashrus of Crown Heights, Corp.,  Vaad Hakashrus of Crown Heights, Inc.,  Vaad Hakashrus Crown Heights, Inc.,  and Vaad Hakashrus of Crown Heights, pending further orders of this Court.
         A Court date was set for August 21st to hear Rabbi Osdoba's lawyers objections to the new Vaad HaKashrus.

 7.   On August 1st, another Judge removed the requirement that the money be deposited with the Court, but required a countersignature on all checks from a member of the new Vaad HaKashrus.  (It should be noted that it came out at the August 15 Court Hearing, that the old Vaad HaKashrus did not comply with this order.)

8.  On August 5th, the new Vaad HaKashrus sent out letters (Restraining Orders) to the suppliers and merchants that use the CHK hechsher, and told them not to pay the old Vaad HaKashrus, and that the new Vaad Hakashrus was in charge.

9.  On August 12th, Rabbi Osdoba's lawyers made a Motion of Contempt of Court and demanded a punishment of a fine, or imprisonment, of the members of the new Vaad HaKashrus for sending out the August 5th letters/restraining orders.  (See below for the Motion of Contempt.)


So the Judge's August 15th order was to:
  1. Order the new Vaad HaKashrus to send out letters to the suppliers and merchants retracting their Restraining Orders.
  2. Remove the requirement that the new Vaad HaKashrus has to co-sign checks with the old Vaad Hakashrus.
  3. Maintain the requirement that the old Vaad Hakashrus cannot do anything more than pay expenses of the ordinary business, and cannot transfer money, hold themselves to be the Directors of the Vaad HaKashrus, etc.
  4. That on August 21st, the Court Hearing to determine the validity of the new Vaad HaKashrus. will be held.
Note that Judge Rothenberg did not grant the Motion of Contempt of Court.

Here is the Motion of Contempt of Court against the new Vaad HaKashrus:


Monday, August 5, 2013

Even Newer Developments in Psak Din Court Case Concerning Kashrus

There have been a flurry of motions and TROs (Temporary Restraining Orders) in the Kashrus case in the last week.  The latest status seems to be as follows:

There are Court hearings scheduled for August 15 and August 21.  These hearings will listen to arguments about the validity of the new Vaad HaKashrus that was appointed by the Vaad HaKohol (for the sake of clarity we will call it the Vaad HaKohol's Vaad HaKashrus).   In the meantime, until further Court Orders:

  • The Court's Order of July 11 discussed in our previous post has been modified in order to allow the CHK to continue to function and pay its bills.  The requirement to deposit the money with the Court has been changed, and the current Vaad HaKashrus, (for the sake of clarity we will call it the Levertov Vaad HaKashrus) can continue to receive money from its clients and to pay its bills. 
  • The Levertov Vaad HaKashrus cannot hold themselves to be the directors of the Vaad HaKashrus, and they cannot receive pay.  This includes Rabbi Osdoba and his two sons, as well as Rabbi Segal and Beryl Levertov.
  • All checks written will be signed by the Levertov Vaad HaKashrus, but will require a co-signature from one of the members of the Vaad HaKohol's Vaad HaKashrus.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

New Development in Psak Din Court Case Concerning Kashrus

A hearing was held on July 11, 2013 in the court case concerning the question of enforcing the Psak Din of the Rosenberg Beis Din Zabla.  The hearing concerned a motion made by the Vaad HaKohol to enforce that Kashrus must be run by the Vaad HaKohol and all the Rabbonim of the Beis Din, and not as a private enterprise of Rabbi Osdoba.  (See Tab above for the court papers.)

The Vaad Hakohol presented a settlement agreement  that appointed a new Vaad HaKashrus that will run the CHK hechsher along with all the Rabbonim of the Beis Din. This settlement agreement was co-signed by a majority of the Rabbonim of the Beis Din (Rabbi Schwei and Rabbi Braun).

The Judge heard oral arguments and set a date of August 21, 2013 to have a hearing on the settlement agreement that the Vaad Hakohol submitted.  In the meantime, all money belonging to Rabbi Osdoba's Vaad HaKashrus, together with all proceeds of the CHK hechsher, must be turned over to the Court immediately, pending the Court's final decision.

Here is the text of the Judge's order:

The oral application the the Responsent's represented by Seidemann & Mermelstein, and the Abramson Law Group, PLLC ("The Osdoba Respondents") for an evidentiary hearing on the authenticity of the Kashrus Settlement Agreement dated June 4, 2013 is granted, and the hearing shall be held on August 21, 2013 at 11:00 a.m.
The motion & cross-motion of the parties is adjourned to August 21, 2013 and the Respondents opposition shall be served on or before August 14, 2013. (No extensions.)
Furthermore, the Osdoba respondents shall deposit forthwith, with the Court all reserve and/or monies received or held by Va'ad Hakashrus entities and/or their [unreadable] (Vaad Hakashrus of Crown Heights, Corp.,  Vaad Hakashrus of Crown Heights, Inc.,  Vaad Hakashrus Crown Heights, Inc.,  and Vaad Hakashrus of Crown Heights, pending further orders of this Court.
Signed by Judge Karen Rothenberg on July 11, 2013 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Update Posting on Psak Din Court Case

In response to several questions from readers asking for an update and other questions about the Psak Din Court Case, we have updated the tab above "Psak Din Court Case - Summary and Documents" with more documents and an explanatory summary.  We hope this will answer the questions we have received.  We are grateful to our readers for their feedback.