Kosher Meat Scandal Hits Los Angeles Market

Video Shows Non-Kosher Products Being Brought Into Shop

Is it Kosher?: Meat at the popular Los Angeles market, Doheny, may not be kosher.
Thinkstock
Is it Kosher?: Meat at the popular Los Angeles market, Doheny, may not be kosher.

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Published March 29, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Los Angeles Jews are reeling from a kosher meat scandal that hit the community on Sunday, just a day before the beginning of Passover.

In what The Jewish Journal is calling “the biggest kosher scandal to hit Los Angeles in 20 years,” Doheny Glatt Kosher Meats on Pico Boulevard, in the heart of the city’s Orthodox neighborhood, lost its kosher certification from the Rabbinical Council of California after owner Mike Engelman was videotaped instructing workers to bring boxes of product in to the store when a mashgiach (kashrut supervisor) was not present.

The news of Doheny’s being stripped of its certification made the local 10 p.m. television news on Sunday. The KTLA report showed the surveillance video made by private investigator Eric Agaki, who had been looking into operations at the market for several months in response to rumors that had been circulating about problems there. Agaki, who also uncovered 5,000 fraudulent “glatt kosher” stickers that could be affixed to any package, conducted his investigation independent of the RCC.

RCC staff members, Rabbi Kalman Topp, the spiritual leader of Beth Jacob, the largest Orthodox synagogue in Pico-Robertson, Rabbi Elazar Muskin of Young Israel of Century City and Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky of B’nai David-Judea gathered with other Orthodox leaders to view the videotapes only hours before they were set to be broadcast on KTLA.

Engelman, who was called in to speak with the rabbis, admitted to bringing unsupervised food into the store, which as been in business for 28 years. However, he maintained that he never brought un-kosher meat into the store, and that the boxes seen on the video contained kosher chicken.

The RCC issued an email announcement that it had “removed its kosher supervision, for cause, from Doheny Kosher Meats,” but that all meat purchased before 3 p.m. on Sunday was still considered kosher.

“I pay too much for meat as it is, and to know I can’t trust [Doheny] anymore is really sad,” a kosher food shopper told The Jewish Journal.

Blogger Rabbi Eliyahu Fink warns consumers against jumping to negative conclusions. Doheny opened for business on Thursday with a new kosher certification signed by Rabbi Meshulom Dov Weiss, an authority who had certified the market several years ago when its meat was merely kosher (and not the more stringent glatt kosher). Fink interviewed Weiss’ son Rabbi Menachem Weiss, the assistant rabbi at Nessah Synagogue, who is trying to help Doheny recover from the scandal.

Weiss claims that the video was recorded not at Doheny, but rather at a different meat market owned by Engelman’s brother-in-law. He also asserted that the investigation at Doheny revealed breaches in protocol, but not substantive transgressions of kashrut. Weiss is working with Engelman on establishing better protocols, which he believes should clear up any doubts about Doheny.

“It seems that the problems with Doheny Kosher Meat are more procedural than substantive,” Fink wrote. “Until the RCC makes a substantive claim there is no reason to think otherwise.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.