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Rabbi Israel Mayer Steinberg of Vaad Harabonim Lemeshmeret Hakashrut

I get a lot of searches recently looking for more information on him and his kosherness/validity.  Does anyone have more information?  PLEASE share in the comments what you know as well as which restaurants he is supervising and I will compile a list of everything and post it soon.

I read here that he allows restaurants to be open on Shabbat which is a no-no for the Frum community.  His reasoning is that it gives Jews (non-orthodox, obviously) the choice to eat somewhere that is at least kosher instead of going elsewhere.  I can see how this may be a semi-OK excuse for somewhere outside of NY but in NYC there are many kosher and non kosher places and this is a pretty lame excuse.

As far as I can find he is the overseeing Rabbi at

  • Little Lads
  • Chickpea (6th Ave & 14th Street locations)

Like I said please drop me a line in the comments and let me know what you know so we can get to the bottom of this!

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  • Eli

    Chickpea’s ingredients may be Kosher, but the establishment is open on Shabbat and there is NO Mashgiach Tmidi on premises all the time. The Kosher certification on the wall at the restaurant (by Rabbi Steinberg), clearly states that the establishment is “frequently monitored” by a mashgiach. That means: not all the time. and certainly not on Shabbat. Glatt? I think Not.

  • Eli

    Chickpea’s ingredients may be Kosher, but the establishment is open on Shabbat and there is NO Mashgiach Tmidi on premises all the time. The Kosher certification on the wall at the restaurant (by Rabbi Steinberg), clearly states that the establishment is “frequently monitored” by a mashgiach. That means: not all the time. and certainly not on Shabbat. Glatt? I think Not.

  • Sam

    Thanks Eli! Does anyone else have any more info?

  • Sam

    Thanks Eli! Does anyone else have any more info?

  • Zehavi

    There are severasl establishments under the hechsher of Rabbi Steinberg. BTW, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein allowed kosher restaurants to be open on Shabbos if they sold the restaurant to a goy. This was a common practice up to the 1970s. Before 1966 there were no glatt kosher restaurants, only kosher restaurants. Rabbi Steinberg relies on many leniencies by Rav Moshe Feinstein and Rav Feinstein is certainly reliable. The Frum world has gotten too religious and more observant than our gedolim.

  • Zehavi

    Chickpea is a vegetarian restaurant and is certainly not glatt kosher. Glatt refers to cattle, oxen, sheep and goats.

  • samir

    Are Rabbi Steinberg's establishments being sold to goys on Shabbat?

  • Ahron

    Glatt only refers to cows and steers. All other animals must be Glatt to be Kosher. Bigkhuna@aol.com

  • Amnon

    Eli,
    “Are Rabbi Steinberg’s establishments being sold to goys on Shabbat?”
    Israel Steinberg gives many restaurants in Queens and in Brooklyn. primarily to jews that are not shommer shabbos that are not following basic rules of kashrut in the kitchen makes me wonder what could they do in the back of there kitchens, please stay away from his hehshor it is not reliable and many of his restaurants claim “Glatt Kosher” even tough on his plaster it stated star K.

  • Bensonestop790

    i know rabbi steinberg for the past 50 years he is a musmach from YTV one of the best tamidim frim that yeshiva he has been involved in the community to help as many people as possible many people owe their thanks to him he is abig talmud chuchum and knows what he is doing if u are lookinf for loshen hora u better sit down a learn a blat gimara and if you are a am haoretz better say tehillim
    shame on you

  • MRogovin

    There are many issues here and it is not whether a person is learned or not. If one keeps a standard (common in the orthodox community) that requires meat to be under the supervision of an broadly accepted hechsher (ie, not Triangle K) regardless of whether it is in fact kosher, whether one requires that a meat establishment have a mashgiach tamid, whether the restaurant may serve kosher and non-kosher products, whether a Jewish-owned establishment may be open on Shabbat without selling it, whether the person giving the hechsher is doing so as a primary job, or a sideline to a government full-time position, whether it is misleading to suggest that this is a Vaad HaKashrut rather than an individual — all of these are legitimate questions one could ask. I am not saying or suggesting that any establishment under this hechsher (now called the Cup-K) is not kosher. The issue is whether one can, consistent with their own standards, relay on this supervision. In general, most orthodox rabbis will advise their congregants not to do so, but whether this is reasonable or fair is a matter for discussion with those rabbis. Similar questions might be asked about IKC and Tablet-K.

  • KosherJew

    I have tried to contact this rabbi with kashrut questions, but he didn't return my call.

  • Fredglus

    I recently came across this Hashgacha in Boca Raton,FL at a food court at the take out place called…”Maoz Vegetarian:..It is Vegan and kosher with the Cup K letter displayed. It poses an interesting dilema, since it is not meat, nor dairy.They serve falafel, all types of salads in pita. Also open 7 days. Their web site is :www.maozusa.com Am interested in your comments….thank you

  • matt

    Rabbi Steinberg supervises the 92Y Tribeca Cafe, a restaurant that uses cheese without a heksher. As far as products that need kosher supervision go, cheese is pretty close to the top of the list.

    (By the way — I completely agree with Bensonestop790 that we shouldn't spread loshon hara. I don't mean to demean Rabbi Steinberg, but I don't think it's fair to give a teudah to a place that's using such a blatantly non-kosher ingredient.)

  • Milhouse

    Anyone who cares about kashrut should steer clear of this hechsher. I wouldn’t trust it even on a glass of water.

    Before inventing his so-called “vaad”, Steinberg at various times put on his stationery “member of the Rabbinical Alliance”, and then (when the RA told him to stop using its name) “member of an orthodox rabbinic association”; “alumnus of Torah Vodaas” (until they told him to stop using their name). No other rabbi uses such descriptions, which should tell you something right there.

    He also tells lies on his teudot. He openly admitted to me that something he wrote on his teudah, over his signature, was not true, and he didn’t seem to understand why I had a problem with that. He is defensive and hostile to anyone who calls him to ask about his hechsherim, as if it’s none of the callers’ business and they should just trust him.

    He’s also the grinch who keeps making trouble for the Vizhnitz wedding hall in Borough Park, making false reports to the police and the city, and trying to drive the place out of business.

  • Milhouse

    Where is this alleged heter of R Moshe to be found? According to the Shulchan Aruch, selling a business to a goy only works if it’s not publicly known to be a Jewish business; a kosher restaurant obviously doesn’t qualify.

  • Milhouse

    What on earth are you talking about? Chickpea is not vegetarian.

  • Milhouse

    To be fair, there’s no law that requires a mashgiach temidi. And there’s no reason why the meat in such a place could not be glatt. The question is can you trust the hechsher, and in this case my answer is no.

  • Bennyc

    I feel confused. About three weeks ago I visited NYC (I live in Israel) I was looking for Kosher place to eat on 72nd Street. I saw Fine & Schapiro’s that loked inviting with a hechsher from Rabbi Schapiro. Only later did I see that the store had open hours on Shabbat. This is very perplexing. In Israel a resteraunt that is open on Shabbat will not recieve a hechsher unless it is inside a hotel

    Anyway to all the readers – Shana Tova , Ktiva Zvehatima Tova

  • Milhouse

    What difference does it make whether it’s inside a hotel or outside? Are there different kashrut laws for hotels?

  • Orit

    They do have feta cheese.

  • Ygold

    a. i know he gives the “certification” for many vegetarian restaurants that are non jewish owened and even one who has a budda to which they serve meals to – idol worship, and certainly not allowed – and non of the establishments have a kosher supervisor…so i dont think he is reliable.

    b, with a name like cup-k and a logo that looks like OK kosher, he truly seems to be trying to fool ppl that he is one of them…

  • David77

    shomer shabbos is shomer shabbos

  • Daov

    DON”T EAT IN THESE QUESTIONABLE PLACES!!

  • Milhouse

    1. What’s wrong with non-Jewish-owned restaurants?

    2. Why would an idol on the premises make the food treif? (The only place I’ve seen with an idol in the window is Madras Mahal, which is davka NOT under Steinberg.)

    3. Why would the places need a supervisor? Plenty of perfectly kosher places don’t.

  • Milhouse Vh

    Not true. Sheep and goats don’t have to be glatt either. Calves, lambs, and kids, though, must be glatt.

  • Nn

    I saw this hechsher today (03 Jan 2011) at the Maoz Falafel in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and was very surprised to later find out that the place is open on shabbat.
    I didn’t know that there are places like that (but I am visiting from Europe and not too familiar with US hechsherim aside from OU).

  • Sara

    I just spoke with Rabbi Steinberg’s ‘son’. He was VERY hostile. I asked him if ‘his father’ was associated with any known Heksher, but he said NO and then I asked if the Rabbi was Shomer Shabbos, and he refused to answer. When I persisted, he told me he was now hanging up.
    If you can’t get a clear answer from the certifying agency, they MUST have something to hide.

  • YeaSayer

    Ok, he’s a talmid chochom, but is he shomer shabbos?

  • YeaSayer

    The Frum world has gotten smarter about the realities of commerce that fraud happens when there’s no oversight. When the mashgiach is not around, there will certainly be violations of kosher laws. I believe there is considerable risk even with a mashgiach, let alone without one. The restaurants you refer to in the ’60s were probably owned and managed by shomer shabbos and served their local community where people who dined there knew the owner well. In any case, look to the Hatzlacha Grocery case as an example of what happens when there’s trust without oversight.

  • Bigkhuna

    what is the name of the first Glatt kosher restaruant?

  • yankel

    If he’s that frum, why won’t he answer simple questions about his hashgacha? I’m not trying to say loshon hara — I just want to know if the food I want to eat is kosher or not.

  • Ashtor613

    His son is actually really nice. I feel that they are over burdened with questions and there is a lot of Loshon hara going on about them sadly. We need to let them breathe, myself included.

  • mew30

    “Have” to be Glatt? No, halachically, meat “has to be” kosher. Since when is “Glatt” the minimal required kashrus standard? “Kosher” is kosher. Glatt is a chumrah, a minhag that is a very recent arrival in the US Jewish community, spread by the influx of chasidic groups in the mid-1960s. Even the most machmir rabbanim in the US did not eat only glatt until then. In fact, some question whether it’s physically possible for all the tons of meat produced by kosher slaughterhouses today to be genuinely glatt. 

  • NotJustThat

     You are thinking of “glatt” as a marketing term, Milhouse is giving you the halacha.

    Glatt literally means “smooth.” One of the simanim of treifa is lesions on the lungs, but it is not always clear whether a blemish is a “treifa legion,” or a healed wound, or something else. Glatt-smooth lungs have no question about interpretation. A lung that has a blemish that must be interpreted is not glatt, and is subject to error by the examiner, or possibly an error in halacha (i.e., what situations are pemritted and not is a subject of debate among the early acharonim).

    Certain animals must be glatt in order to be kosher at all. Certain animals do not have to be glatt, but glatt could be considered a hiddur mitzvah or a chumrah for such animals.

    So mrketing-wise, you may be right, glatt became “the thing to do” in optional cases. But you don’t know what you are talking about in halacha, where some animals MUST be glatt, if you don’t want to eat (literal) treif.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Bryant/588715904 Daniel Bryant

    maybe i should clarify this further. “glatt” in the US on a package only means something if the animal was a cow/steer. if it’s on turkey, chicken, etc., it’s just marketing. what glatt means exactly is that there are no adhesions found on the lungs of the cow that cannot be removed. if an adhesion was found that could be removed, it is still glatt. there is a higher standard for this called beis yosef, which means that if there was any adhesion, period, it is rejected. but honestly, none of this renders an animal kosher or non-kosher, it’s more of a tradition issued as a chumra than it is real halakah. 

    however, it dervies from the real halakah that an animal can’t be sick when it is slaughtered. inspection of the lungs is nowhere near an adequate health examination for the cows. people get hung up on this “glatt” thing when the real concern we need to look out for is whether the animal was sick or not, and how the animal was treated before it was slaughtered. it is only with the permission of hashem that we have the ability to slaughter animals and eat meat, and we need to respect the life that we are taking as a blessing from hashem.

    this is another example of how the charedi community has really gone off on these rabbit paths from the things that really matter.

  • NotJustThat

    Actually, an animal can be sick and be slaughtered. We have mishnayos and gemaros that discuss this at length. It was quite common fo an owner to preemptively slaughter a dying animal so that it would remain kosher/tahor rather than become neveila.

    That does not excuse us from mistreatment, but that is a separate aveira of tsar baalei chayim, which may or may not be biblical.

  • BehindBlueEyes0221

    The place is owned by non-jews and is hallachically allowed in this instance to be opened its a bit controversial but read a shulchan aruch to find out exact laws

  • Jgbbiz120

    How would YOU feel if an unknown person called you to ask if you’re shomer shabbos?

  • Chani

     Maybe someone should ask the following hechsherim how they supervise establishments that are opened on SHabbos.

    United Kosher Supervision-Rabbi Yaacov Spivak

    Vaad Harabonim Lemeshmeret Hakashrut – Rabbi Israel Mayer Steinberg

    Rabbi Andre Malek

    Orthodox Kashruth Supervision

    Tablet-K

  • Steve B

    I called one of the Maoz Vegetarian locations today to ask if the restaurant is kosher (turns out its certified by Rabbi Steinberg’s “Cup-K”). The young lady who answered the phone paused, then yelled out to a colleague, “Hey, is the restaurant kosher?” She repeated the word kosher in such a way that it sounded she didnt know what it meant and possibly wasnt sure if the question was a serious one. I then went to the restaurant and saw the “Cup K” certification in the window. The young lady was at the counter, working the register and handling food, while someone else was working in their small kitchen. This was one of the Maoz Vegetarian restaurants outside of the NY area.

  • Nussend

    I was in an Indian “Kosher restaurant” under this hashgocho at Amsterdam and 84th street. They sell all types of Yayin Nesech alongside a wall of “kosher wines”. If this would be your standard for a kosher establishment then go on and eat there. I would venture to say that this would not be considered the kashrut standard for the majority of Rabbi Steinberg’s classmates, or teachers identifying themselves as strictly orthodox or even modern orthodox from Torah Vodaath.

  • Avi

    STAY AWAY FROM HIS HESHSHER HE IS A PIG AND MANY RESTAURANTS IN BROOKLYN WERE DISCOVERED TO HAVE TREIF MEAT UNDER HIS AUTHORITY RESTAURANTS LIKE EUPHORIA AND ASIA.

  • None

    Because any place that sells meat and is open on Shabbat, is by definition already suspect. Kosher meat that has been left unsupervised (or supervised by someone who is not shomer shabbos) becomes suspect immediately. We cannot rely on “eid achud” if that person desecrates shabbos publicly (ie, keeping his store open on shabbos). There are leniencies that apply to non meat establishments.

  • frumwithbrain

    Sorry to tell you that there is no yayin nesech anymore…try stam yeynam, and you may have a chance…..

  • dw

    Unfortunately, I have seen Yayin nesech made with my own eyes, so I cannot agree that it no longer exists.  It is probably not prevalent.  Still, the issurim on Stam yeynam are not to be dismissed, and as such your objection does not change the point.

  • Aharon Fernandez

    * Removed my comments since my name appears here, I dont want to get into trouble*

  • Adam

     Actually, there is a law.  Any Kosher meat establishment needs a mashgiach temidi.  Dairy and parve don’t.  As “none” said also in reply to this post, kosher meat can’t be left unsupervised.  It goes all the way back to the Talmud.  But yeah, I agree with you in not trusting the Hashgacha, even if the Rav is Shomer everything appropriate, if he approves non-kosher cheeses and such, it cannot be trusted.

  • Ysackton50

    Ben’s Kosher Deli 38th st. His certificate is there.
    The number does not seem to work,

  • Vroom45

    He also gave hasgacha to bens in manhattan where it was selling food for Passover and on the bottom of the menu indicated not cooked in a kosher for Passover kitchen.