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Judge Malvin Defines ‘kosher’ in Decision at Neboh Hearing

What is kosher meat?

That was the question posed by Magistrate David L. Malvin sitting in Brooklyn Tuesday and answered by himself. Here’s the answer:

“Meat can only be kosher when it is properly selected, slaughtered and handled under the supervision of rabbinical supervisors, in accordance with the Jewish ritual and sanctioned by the Hebrew orthodox rabbinical requirements The regulations as established by the orthodox rabbis require strict adherence to the Hebrew laws during the entire process and a failure to comply therewith would make the product non-kosher.”


This definition was incorporated in a decision handed down by Magistrate Malvin in the case of the Neboh Kosher Provision Company and its president, Abraham Kaufman, charged with intent to defraud and with unlawful exposure for sale of non-kosher meat, consisting of four barrels of brisket and four barrels of tongue. After several weeks of hearings in the Magistrates’ Courts in Brooklyn, the decision denied the motion to dismiss, ordered the defendant held in $500 bail and tried in the Court of Special Sessions.

The complainant against the corporation was Sidney Rosenwasser, from the office of Arthur Simon, Department of Health confidential investigator. Evidence, according to Magistrate Malvin, has brought out that “the secrecy with which the aforesaid delivery was veiled creates a guilty inference of wrongdoing.”

A significant acknowledgment of the ramifications of the Kosher products business is made in the decision: “Commerce and business in the preparation and sale of kosher products has reached such tremendous proportions and is of such people that the propriety of such regulations and laws can no longer be questioned.”

Section 435-A of the Penal Law, which was alleged to have been violated in the Neboh kosher case, reads as follows:

“Sale of kosher meat and meat preparations:

“A person who, with intent to defraud sells or exposes for sale any meat or meat preparation and falsely represents the same to be kosher, whether such meat or meat preparation be raw or prepared for human consumption, or as having been prepared under and of a product or products sanctioned by the orthodox Hebrew religious requirements; or falsely represents any food product or the contents of any package or container to be so constituted and prepared by having or permitting to be inscribed thereon the word kosher in any language; or sells or exposes for sale in the same place of business both kosher and non-kosher meat or meat preparations, either raw or prepared for human consumption, who fails to indicate on his window signs and all display advertising, in block letters at least four inches in height, kosher and non-kosher meat sold here; or who exposes for sale in any show window or place of business both kosher and non-kosher meat or meat preparations, either raw or prepared for human consumption, who fails to display over each kind of meat or meat preparations so exposed a sign in block letters at least four inches in height reading kosher meat, or non-kosher meat, as the case may be, is guilty of a misdemeanor.”