NY Jewish leaders criticize kosher inspector cuts

The News Leader

January 3, 2011 2:00:37 PM PST
Jewish leaders are criticizing layoffs at New York state's kosher law enforcement division that are a result of budget cuts.

The division's eight inspectors and an assistant were laid-off Jan. 1. The cuts were implemented under former Gov. David Paterson.

Only the division's director is still employed.

A year ago there were 12.

Now they are gone.

"It's an outrage," said New York State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, (D) Queens.

State Sen. Stavisky is not a fan of these cuts even though they will save the state a million dollars a year.

"We need to know that the kosher consumer is protected, that if it says kosher it is," State Sen. Stavisky said.

And she's not the only one.

"You are not protecting us! If it says it's one kind of sweater but is made of something else, this has to do with commerce fraud," said Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld, of Kew Gardens.

For the past five years, because of a lawsuit questioning separation of church and state, state inspections have involved just paperwork, and that's according to Albany and businesses Eyewitness News talked to, so the feeling is very little will change.

"We're under rabbinic supervision," Leah Katz, of Brach's Kosher Supermarket said.

Leah Katz's family started Brach's as a butcher shop in 1958.

She says what she's worried about are places that sell kosher and non-kosher food.

"I eat kosher, I only eat kosher, therefore I have to face the person I see in the mirror," Katz said.

As for shoppers, they would only say they will be extra careful now where they get their groceries.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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