Control of Vaad Hakashruth Splits Paterson Orthodox Jews

Paterson’s Orthodox Jewish group is torn by dissension today, as a result of the war which has broken out between one faction which supports Rabbi William Wittenstein and another which supports Rabbi Leiser Shotland. The point at issue is the control over the Vaad Hakashruth, the institution which supervises all the kosher meat to be used by the Jews of the city.

The Vaad Hakashruth consists of four representatives from each synagogue of the city, and has full supervision of Jewish meats, the rabbis drawing their salaries from this institution. Rabbi Shotland’s followers trace the origin of the trouble to the statement made by Rabbi Wittenstein last Passover that kashruth had fallen fifty percent. They point out that Rabbi Shotland asked him to explain his statement, but that there was no answer forthcoming.

They also state that a year ago Rabbi Wittenstein declared that “mashgihim” (meat inspectors) had found the meat supervised by Rabbi Shotland questionable as to whether it was washed according to Jewish law or not. However, Rabbi Shotland’s followers point out that he asked the same meat inspectors about it, and they said that the meat was washed as prescribed by Jewish law.

The Shotland faction also claims that Rabbi Wittenstein wants control of the synagogues by allowing Rabbi Shotland to supervise only the Fair Street synagogue. This Rabbi Wittenstein has denied in an interview for the local “Jewish Post.”

Rabbi Wittenstein has been rabbi in Paterson for many years. Rabbi Shot land came to Paterson sixteen months ago.

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