Who is to Blame for the Doheny Meat Scandal?

blog_doheny_meatWe are.

Let me explain.

Rav Shraga Feivel Zimmerman, the current Chief Rabbi of Gateshead, England, spoke in the aftermath of a major kashrut scandal which rocked Monsey, NY, in 2006. He recalled the story of the Prophet Jonah that we read on Yom Kippur afternoon. The story describes a huge storm that was capable of overturning the ship. Everyone on the boat was frightened and took out their idols. They started praying to the idols. When that didn’t work they woke up Jonah. What did he say about the raging storm? “It’s because of me.”

Jonah could have easily blamed the storm on the boat full of idol worshippers. Perhaps his presence on the boat was a mere accident, and the boat was destined for doom. No, Jonah said that responsibility is mine.

Today, in the wake of the Doheny “Kosher” Meat scandal, it is also our responsibility.

Of course people are mad and want to find someone to blame. After all anyone who ate Doheny meat, whether bought from the store, or eaten through of the many restaurants and caterers that sourced their meat there, consumed food that was potentially trief.

Yet, let’s remember that the Prophet Jonah says, “it’s because of me.” We read this on Yom Kippur to remind us that we need to take responsibility, and need to do a soul searching.

As it says in the Talmud, it is not the mouse that is the thief, it is the hole.
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Jewish Innovation’s Obstacle Course

Jewish organizations that are on the cutting edge are having a hard time making it to the next level. It’s a worldwide phenomenon. Instead of getting to sustainability, they cannot access bridge or mezzanine funding to take themselves out of start-up mode.

As anyone in business will tell you: you can’t stay in start-up mode. It’s sink or swim.

In a brilliant article in the Forward, Dana Raucher the executive director of The Samuel Bronfman Foundation, demonstrates the significant challenges that Jewish innovation is facing, and a solution. “Organizations on the cusp of this “second stage” must find a way to professionalize their systems and staff, and to do this they often need additional financial resources just at the moment when the luster of their novelty is dimming/”

Raucher’s article also highlights a comprehensive study commissioned by Bikkurim, From First Fruits to Abundant Harvest: Maximizing the Potential of Innovative Jewish Start-Ups. The study was overseen by an impressive study group and list of partners including The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, The Samuel Bronfman Foundation, NATAN, Lippman Kanfer Family Foundation, PELIE, and the UJA Federation of New York.

I wish that I could say that here at Jewlicious we know nothing of these obstacles. However, that is not the case. In fact, there are the exact issues that Jewlicious is facing now.

Over the past decade, the Jewish community has fostered these types of organizations, which often try out groundbreaking forms of outreach and mix contemporary culture with tradition. But ironically, especially when these initiatives become successful, they encounter new obstacles that demand they rethink how they can best achieve their missions….

This also echoes my own experience at The Samuel Bronfman Foundation, where we make long term, deep investments in nonprofit organizations. We have learned again and again that no organization’s life cycle is completely linear. There are key points of inflection that present unique challenges and opportunities. Because we have been able to witness our grantees as they evolve, we have been involved in identifying and addressing these moments….

Second-stage growth requires nimbleness on the part of funders and organizations. By focusing on the mission and not the form through which it is driven, organizations are able to promote their institutional goals during each phase of their development. A commitment to a consistent set of core values may require shifts over time in both program orientation and organizational structures.

It is the responsibility of all stakeholders, including funders, professionals and lay leaders, to engage more publicly in this conversation. Today we are confronted with an opportunity to address an important need in the Jewish community, and together we must exchange ideas, share best practices and continue our support for this sector. Through collaboration and adaptability, we can better equip these organizations so that they don’t falter as they transition to their next stage.

Read the whole article here:

Named a Top 10 Jewish Influencer by @JewishTweets and NJOP

Thank you NJOP for this honor. The Internet and Social Media are a powerful conduit for ideas, education, and inspiration for Jews around the globe. I take the issue of online Jewish content very seriously, even if some of my postings are irreverent in nature. Blogging and using the web to bring forward important issues in the Jewish world is part of being a catalyst for a dynamic Jewish renewal and fighting the continuing trend of disaffiliation and assimilation. Additionally, because so many Jews are disconnected from Jewish life and community, the web affords Jews to be in touch with spiritual leaders, community leaders, and other Jewish personalities on a personal level that never existed before the Interweb Revolution.


@JewishTweets – Jewish Lifestyle Twitter Feed – Recognizes 10 Jewish Influencers in Social Media during Social Media Week 2012

New York, NY – (February 13, 2012) The National Jewish Outreach Program ( tonight announced the recipients of the first “Jewish Treats: Jewish Influencer Awards” during the organization’s 18th annual dinner. The announcement was listed as part of Social Media Week (SMW12) which kicked off earlier in the day.

Finalists were selected by an expert panel of judges and evaluated based on creative and strategic use of social media to positively impact the Jewish community. Winners will be listed on the NJOP website, featured on @JewishTweets and invited to participate in 2012 NJOP social media programming.

“We launched @JewishTweets in March 2008 and from the outset, embraced it for the way it allows us to connect with people everywhere. It has allowed us not only to be heard, but to listen and be inspired by others every day,” said Ephraim Z. Buchwald, founder and director of the National Jewish Outreach Program. “In particular, we wanted to take time to recognize some of those who are leveraging the power of social media to raise Jewish social consciousness and shine a positive light on Jewish life.”

2012 Jewish Treats: Jewish Influencer Awards

Rabbi Yonah Bookstein @RabbiYonah
Rabbi Yonah Bookstein is the executive rabbi for JConnectLA, which hosts events to help young Jews “connect to something bigger”.A popular blogger, Bookstein’s writings regularly appear in The Huffington Post, Jewlicious and LA’s He also maintains the Facebook presence for both JConnectLA and the Jewlicious Festival, a popular youth event.

Graduates, Your Mountain Is Wating — New Blog Post @

Graduates, Your Mountain Is Waiting

Posted by Rabbi Yonah Bookstein


Mazal tov graduates! I have some sage advice that can make you rich. Broaden your horizons.

Not to be a downer, but according to the statistics, the job market for you is as low as it can go. I’m really sorry. The chance for a job that actually requires that major of yours? It’s even lower. So exactly how are you, the Facebook Generation, going to get rich? Expand your worldview.

Don’t waste your time in a search for a dead-end job or a career. The world is a big place, and you will never have this chance again. As one of our greatest teachers,  Dr. Suess said in The Places You’ll Go, “Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!”

Volunteer somewhere in this vast world where your help is really needed. A billion people want to learn your native language English. Impoverished communities from Guatemala to India, can benefit from your idealism and energy.

Here at home in America, communities ravaged by poverty and natural disasters need you to help pick up the pieces. Joplin, Missouri, alone could keep you busy for a year. Detroit needs an army of teachers to battle illiteracy. read more…