NEW YORK (Jul. 30)
The director of kosher law enforcement for the State of New York, Rabbi Schulem Rubin, said that his office was checking into evidence that fraudulently labeled cheese was being offered in the United States to take advantage of a custom of observant Jews to refrain from eating meat for nine days, starting last night.
This custom is observed in mourning for the de-struction of both the First and Second Temples in the Holy Land, culminating in observance of Tisha B’av. The period is the first nine days of the month of Av.
Observant Jews substitute other protein-rich food for those nine days, fish or hard cheese. Rubin said his office was checking into evidence that a Jarls-berg-type cheese, bearing a seal of kosher certification from Chief Rabbi Peretz Tzioni of Afula in Israel on a label indicating the cheese is made by the Tnuva company in Afula, was being distributed in many parts of this country.
Rubin said he had a letter from Tzioni, declaring he is grateful to all who will help to notify American observant Jews that Tnuva does not produce the Jarlsberg type of cheese, that he believes the cheese being sold in the United States is not kosher and that he is deeply disturbed that his name is being used fraudulently to endorse the kashruth of the cheese product.
Rubin said the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, in which his office is located, is looking seriously into these allegations and that Commissioner Joseph Gerace has asked Rubin to turn over to the department all the materials he has collected relevant to the charges.
Rubin declined to reveal the nature of those materials, saying that disclosing such details might imperil the investigation now being conducted into the charges.