The Beis Din of the Federation of Synagogues has reluctantly
withdrawn its hechsher from Rakusens Passover Matzos
and wishes to clarify various issues arising from inaccurate
statements that have been made in this connection.
The Federation Beis Din first raised concerns about the
standard of kashrus at the Rakusens factory in Leeds in early
1993. It was anticipated that through dialogue problems would
easily be resolved. Some problems were, indeed, resolved but
others were not dealt with.
In February 1999 the Beis Din wrote to Rakusens saying that
regrettably they were obliged to withdraw their supervision
and certification, as there had been no improvements
following detailed reports from the Federation Dayonim in
1992 and 1993. Furthermore, the Beis Din had not been invited
to attend the cutting of the wheat for the production of the
shemurah matzos, which they had attended for almost
all of the previous ten years.
This letter resulted in a meeting in March 1999 between
Dayonim and the Managing Director of Rakusens and the
mashgiach of the matzo production. The Managing
Director, Mr. Donald Macfarlane, undertook to carry out all
the requirements including the submission for analysis of
film that formed on the hole-making equipment. This was
necessary because the Dayonim were concerned that the film
might be chometz. The Federation, in a letter,
confirmed the details of the meeting and the matters agreed,
a few days later. Rakusens did not respond, until reminded
and eventually, in November 1999, Mr. Macfarlane told the
Federation that "we have implemented all the matters brought
to our attention . . . "
This proved to be incorrect and the Federation Beis Din then
confirmed that they were withdrawing their hechsher.
Throughout, the Federation Beis Din has told Rakusens:
"We would be more than happy to continue lending our name to
the certification of the matzo, providing that they are on a
kashrus level that we are satisfied with."
As the community relies on top quality matzos and in order to
fill the void, the Dayonim of the Federation (Dayan Y. Y.
Lichtenstein, Dayan B. Berkovits, and Dayan M. D. Elzas) flew
this year to Israel to produce matzos under their personal
The Dayonim, who supervised the baking of this matzo during
January this year, expressed their complete satisfaction with
the kashrus standards employed during their baking.
The bakery, which is generally supervised by the Badatz of
the Eida HaChareidis of Jerusalem and the Jerusalem
Rabbinate, provided mashgichim of the highest caliber
to help the Dayonim in their supervision.
These new matzos, Matzot Eretz Hatzvi, were baked in the
famous Cohen-Halpern bakery in Jerusalem and are now
available on London shelves for the first time.