I came across the Website of this fellow who does courses in keeping a kosher kitchen and maintains a number of Webpages on the topic, including this “List of Valid Hechshers” that notably has the following after that list:
# The “Half-moon K” or “Fat-K” (which is not listed above) has been improving of late and is no longer rejected outright; however, each individual certified product must be individually researched.
The “Triangle-K” (also not listed) is not a reliable hechsher. Rabbi Ralbag, the Rav HaMachshir, is by all accounts a yoreh shamayim. As I understand it, the issue with Triangle-K is that the hechsher is on far too many products for one person to supervise effectively.
It’s hard to find someone who’ll be so upfront about the whats and wherefores of a supervision agency being considered unreliable, so to see this explained so frankly and openly about the Triangle-K is a surprise, especially because the claim being made seems pretty much impossible to back up. Indeed, when I told Ralbag in our interview that a reason his certification was considered unreliable was owing to his being an individual, not an organization, his response was to list the numerous supervisors he maintains around the world.
So how does Bendory justify this statement?
I sent him a few questions, the biggest of which focused on his take on the Triangle-K.
I’m doing some reporting on kosher supervision, and came across your Website.
I noticed your claim regarding the Triangle-K that “the hechsher is on far too many products for one person to supervise effectively.” Where did you get this information, and how do you know that Triangle-K does not maintain more than one employee? Further, if R’ Ralbag is “a yoreh shamayim,” why would he be certifying and eating products that are not considered reliable?
His response, ultimately, was “Sorry, I don’t respond to media inquiries of this nature.”
So I just called him to follow-up. I first asked him to explain what the nature of the inquiry was such that he won’t respond, to which he replied “In general, kashrut is not something that I’m willing to be interviewed on for newspaper purposes,” because, he asserted, “Most articles that show up about kashrut are not positive.” That’s news to me, because virtually every story I’ve seen has been profoundly fawning. I asked him for some examples of such, and he would provide none.
So then I moved into the heart of the matter: does he think that the Triangle-K does not have any employees? He said of his Website claim “That’s all I have to say about the matter” and that he would not be providing any additional information.
But does he think Ralbag doesn’t have any employees? “I never said he doesn’t have any employees.” But do you think he doesn’t have any additional supervisors? He wouldn’t say. But why are you willing to smear a man by saying his supervision isn’t reliable without backing it up? How can you square your saying he’s a yoreh shamayim with the claim that he’d be eating food from his own supervision that you say he isn’t doing effectively? “I don’t say anything about him that he does not supervise effectively.” But how can you square that with the fact that you claim his supervision’s unreliable? Have you called Ralbag to ask if your impression is correct, while you publish that impression on your Website?
He basically wasn’t answering and eventually hung up.
As a journalist examining this kosher supervision world of rumor, innuendo, and a broad range of unattributed claims, I’m more than a bit surprised by conduct like this. I check out what I plan to write before I put it in the public sphere; why does it seem that’s not the same standard held by many of the rabbis involved?
UPDATE: As Shmarya notes in the comments, Bendory has removed the above statement. A change of heart? It’s hard to say: he removed all claims about “unreliable” supervisions, not simply those regarding the Triangle-K.