Whatever Happened To The Kosher Status Of Brooklyn Water Bagel?

The short answer I thought was that the kosher supervisor for Brooklyn Water Bagel is EarthKosher, which is not recognized as a valid kosher supervisor by observant Jews.

I was wrong. Keep reading.

There’s an Italian pizza place on Pico Blvd (is it Brooklyn Pizza – across from Young Israel of Century City) that was kosher for a while. It was supervised by the RCC. The owner felt like the RCC was shaking him down for money and went treif (stopped his kosher supervision and stopped trying to abide by the dietary laws of Judaism).

Noah’s Bagels was kosher under Rabbi Bukspan then the RCC shoved him out of the way and took over the kosher certification, claiming they’d bring in more customers. That did not work out. Noah’s Bagels tired of dealing with the RCC and decided it would be easier to skip kosher certification.

From the YICC.com mailing list:

Dear Members,
Rabbi Muskin requested that the following two items be brought to your attention:
1 – The Brooklyn Water Bagels restaurant on Beverly Drive is no longer kosher. The
restaurant is now completely treif and no food should be purchased from this store.
2 – There is a new popular shoe called TOMS. The non-vegan style has a leather inner
sole and may not be worn on Yom Kippur.

Sam* emails: Dear Mr. Ford,

Since you seem to have a good ear for rumors in the Pico-Rob area, I was wondering if you heard anything about what really went on with Brooklyn Water Bagel becoming kosher and then quickly becoming not kosher again. It seems they got kashered, put out press releases, made a menu (you can still find it on google), and opened for business as a kosher place on Erev Rosh Hashana. Next thing you know, Rosh Hashana is over and they went back to being not-kosher. Is it possible they expected to have Orthodox Jews come in on Rosh Hashana and then panicked without realizing why no one was coming in? The whole thing makes no sense to me.

…1) EarthKosher is listed on Rabbi Eidlitz’s website as a recommended Kashrus certification (http://www.kosherquest.org/symbols.php Its listed under the New Jersey certifications), so I think that most observant Jews would abide by it (although being minor and on the East Coast they may not have head of it offhand). If observant Jews didn’t abide by it, Rabbi Muskin would not need to say that it is “no longer kosher.”
2) I am friendly with the owner of Brooklyn Pizza (Real Valera). He told me that the reason that he was no longer kosher certified (or under the RCC) is that the Mashgiach they appointed for him was stealing from him and that the RCC refused to replace him with someone else. I think that he even caught him on camera.
3) I think its unfair to blame the RCC for Noah’s Bagels on Pico not being kosher anymore. Noah’s bagels at one point had dozens of kosher locations, most of which were not under the RCC. They all lost their certification over time (except one place in Seattle) as a business decision by the company who bought the chain from the original Noah. Most of them were not under RCC. The company ended up in bankruptcy and closed a bunch of locations. Im fairly certain that the Pico location was one of those locations that had closed because of financial troubles. I dont remember if it was still under certification when it closed.

HERE IS A REPORT FROM SEPT. 28, 2011:

“By making the Beverly Hills location an all-dairy-kosher restaurant, we’re simply responding to the local community, most of which already loves our food. Now we’re expanding our reach so those who follow kosher principles can enjoy a Brooklyn water bagel,” says Steven M. Fassberg, president and chief executive officer of The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. “We will still have the best bagels in the Los Angeles area; they just happen to be kosher.”

The restaurant will be adding more smoked fish options to its menu, including smoked salmon and white fish flown in from Brooklyn. A new salad bar will allow guests to make their own salad, choosing their favorite fresh, locally grown, organic vegetables, cheeses, and dressings. The menu will also include new soups such as lentil, mushroom barley, and split pea.

“We’re not only offering delicious meal options for guests who are kosher, but a wonderful alternative for the large vegetarian community in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles,” says Chef Allen. “Going kosher makes The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. a natural choice for vegetarians groups and the many Jewish organizations in the area when they’re catering their next event.”

The restaurant meets the strictest standards of and is kosher certified by EarthKosher, which provides kosher certification to businesses around the world.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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