One of the East Side’s most prominent rabbis was yesterday placed under a rabbinical ban disqualifying him from supervising poultry slaughtering or carrying out other rabbinical prerogatives.
Rabbi Benjamin Fleischer, who officiated as chairman when the poultry issur, or ban, was pronounced in his synagogue, the Beth Hamedresh Hagodol on Norfolk street, yesterday was informed that a rabbinical tribunal of forty East Side rabbis had banned him for violating the issur.
His answer was that he had never agreed with the issur and was forced to permit use of his synagogue and officiate at the ceremonies after “extreme pressure” was brought to bear on him and the president of the synagogue by the Kashruth Association rabbis.
In the meantime, a Kashruth Association official yesterday made public a complaint from an East Side market owner under agreement with the association for supervision to the effect that Shochtim Union Local 440 refused to send him a slaughterer because his market was being supervised by the association rather than by Rabbi Fleischer.
Rabbi Fleischer explained to the Jewish Daily Bulletin that he was fulfilling the terms of the issurâ€”that a number of East Side markets which had entered into agreements with him for supervision had authorized supervisors and that in these markets a “token of Kashruth” demanded by the issur was being affixed.
Forty East Side rabbis who held a meeting until two o’clock yesterday morning at the Bialystoker Center on East Broadway, saw the matter in a different light. They held that Rabbi Fleischer was violating the ban by entering into an individual agreement with market men.
Accordingly, they sent a delegation headed by Rabbi Benjamin Gut to his home, 217 East Broadway, to demand that Rabbi Fleischer cease supervising markets and instead support the plan for centralized supervision by the Kashruth Association.
PREFERS SPIRIT OF LAW
This he refused to do. He pointed out that he was one of the ultra-pious sect of Jewish rabbis to whom the spirit of Jewish law is more important than the letter. Although there was ample justification in Jewish law for the issur, he said, the spirit was violated by the suffering caused to shochtim who were being deprived of a living.
Returning to their meeting, the committee reported the conference, and the forty rabbis decided to declare null and void all supervision by Rabbi Fleischer. In addition, he was barred from carrying out all other rabbinical duties.
In spite of this decision, shochtim continued working yesterday in the nine markets said to be supervised by Rabbi Fleischer.
The charge that the Shochtim Union refused to send a shochet to a market under Kashruth Association supervision was denied by a spokesman who said the market owner had refused to sign a contract with the union.
In several Bronx synagogues, it was learned yesterday, congregations supporting the issur barred shochtim working in violation of the ban from praying at the altar.
Sentiment against the issur continued, especially among Bronx butchers who met at the Hunts Point Palace last night to resolve not to buy poultry bearing the leg-bands of Kashruth Association supervision.
The butchers expressed themselves as favoring rabbinical supervision of poultry markets but opposing the leg-bands because of the cost involved and because, they declared, it would engender a “rabbinical racket.”
Up to a late hour yesterday the Kashruth Association had entered into contracts with 140 markets for supervision and attachment of leg-bands, an official reported.