St. Louis (Aug. 16)
The long and bitter struggle within the orthodox Jewish community has ended after a four day hearing before Rabbi Eliezer Silver of Springfield, Mass., president of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis, Rabbi Chaim B. Natalovitz of Harrisburg, Pa., and Rabbi Joseph Rosen of Passaic, N. J., the three arbitrators who arrived a few days ago to settle the kashruth controversy that has raged here for more than a year. Two thousand people were present when the rabbis rendered their decision.
The rights of the Vaad Hair, the centralized authority of orthodox Jewry, were challenged by Rabbi J. J. Grodsky, who employed scab schochtim and under his own supervision conducted an independent organization counter to the authority of the Vaad Hair. A proclamation was recently issued by the Vaad Hair condemning Rabbi Grodsky and calling for his excommunication and charging him with taking funds from the slaughter houses without the knowledge of the Jewish community.
This proclamation resulting in a petition for an injunction to restrain the Vaad Hair and Leon Gellman, editor of the “Jewish Record,” from publishing notices tending to interfere with the business of the butchers not under the Vaad Hair’s control. Although the local courts refused to issue such an injunction, the controversy was not ended.
The decision of the Lonuzar Gaon, who isued an edict on his visit to St. Louis, that the authority of the kashruth board in matters dealing with kashruth is final, was sustained by the three rabbis. They ruled that the Vaad’ Hair must remain the final authority in the city and that the butchers who defied its authority must be punished. Upon payment of twenty-five dollars each as proof that they are repentant they will be reinstated together with the schochtim hired by the Vaad Hair. Rabbi Grodsky was ordered not to meddle in the affairs of the Vaad Hair and was granted a bonus of $2,000 on the express understanding that he is to have nothing to do with the kosher meat business in St. Louis.
The rabbis’ decision has met with the almost unanimous approval of the community. The Vaad Hair has announced that it will live up the decision.