Rockville-based Potomac 18 Caterers had been looking to expand. So CEO Yisroel Bacharach entered into talks with the Orthodox Union to provide kosher supervision and certification that would be recognized nationally. Bacharach said the Rabbinical Council of Greater Washington, which was providing kosher supervision, was part of the talks.
But In an advertisement in the Nov. 23 edition of Washington Jewish Week, the rabbinical council, also known as the Vaad, announced “it will no longer be providing its kashruth certification to Potomac 18 Caterers.”
The announcement surprised Bacharach. “For them to treat me this way and tell me this in an ad, I’m really shocked,” he said, referring to the Vaad.
In the ad, the Vaad stated it will continue to certify the caterer’s events through Dec. 18. Vaad spokesperson Ellen Coren confirmed the information but declined to elaborate.
Bacharach said he had discussed the transfer of kosher certification with both the OU and the Vaad, and there was supposed to be a mutual agreement that the OU certification would begin in early December.
Bacharach said he wants Potomac 18 to be certified by the OU because he plans to begin a wholesale operation that will require certification recognized throughout the United States.
Rabbi Moshe Elefant, chief operating officer of the OU’s Kashruth division, said his organization has been in negotiations with Potomac 18 for about a month. Elefant said the Vaad has also been a part of the discussion.
“We would never assume a supervision without speaking first to the rabbinical agency that is currently supervising,” he said.
Elefant said there has not been a mutually-agreed upon date when the transfer of supervision will occur, but the OU was aware of the Vaad’s decision to revoke its certification on Dec. 18. He said he presumed Potomac 18 also had knowledge of when the Vaad would end its certification.
Elefant said Bacharach had first contacted him over the summer and told the OU rabbi of his plans to begin his wholesale operation.
The Vaad released a statement saying that “discussions regarding Kashrus are strictly between the Vaad and proprietors.”