Y&H is very late to the game on this one, but earlier this month, Washington Jewish Weekbroke the news that the JCC Cafe, an independent kosher dining room inside the Washington DC Jewish Community Center, had been shut down for violating kashrut standards.
It’s a juicy story about replacing kosher meats with Safeway sirloin steaks and a lame attempt by the cafe staff to cover up the violation. Here’s the pertinent section from reporter Richard Greenberg‘s story:
[T]he incident occurred when the cafe was running low on steak. A tray of about five nonkosher sirloin steaks that had been purchased from a nearby Safeway supermarket were then brought into the cafe, apparently to make up for the shortage.
When the Vaad’s on-site mashgiach, or kashrut supervisor, briefly glimpsed an employee carrying a Safeway bag, he suspected that something was wrong.
At one point, according to Sanders, some cafe employees attempted to shield the mashgiach’s view or otherwise create a “diversion” that was intended to draw attention away from the unkosher meat.
The mashgiach, who could not be reached for comment, quickly doubled back to the room the meat had been brought to. “Apparently, they didn’t suspect that he’d come back so quickly,” Sanders said.
The steaks were found buried deep in the refrigerator, recently encased in plastic wrap. Their original wrapping had been removed and stashed under a nearby counter. Sanders was notified and he then alerted his supervisors at the Vaad, who ordered the restaurant closed. A few diners had just taken their seats when they were informed of the immediate shutdown.
Y&H called the Jewish Community Center yesterday afternoon and the person who answered the phone said the cafe is still closed. But it’s expected to open back up soon.