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I've recently seen a hashgacha around NYC called Cup-K or CupK. However, I have been able to find precious little about it and what I have found seems mostly to consist of unsubstiatable rumours. Does anyone have any knowledge of the reliability of this hashgacha? FWIW, it's the one formerly used by the famous Second Avenue Deli and currently certifying famous vegan restaurant Buddha Bodai.

Cup-K image

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    @NoachMiFrankfurt, I don't know why you're telling me this. My comment was aimed at providing you or other potential answerers with an avenue of research toward answering your question. Yours seems to be aimed at... disagreeing with the Forward, perhaps?
    – msh210
    Jun 27, 2016 at 16:28
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    Great question. Can't provide any kind of substantial answer, but I will say that "cup K" is the go-to example of a "bad hechsher" in my community
    – SAH
    Nov 7, 2016 at 16:03
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    @TheAsh, I'm aware. It's a marked improvement, but I don't think I'll eat there since I don't know what R' Schwartz holds for fleischig places May 25, 2023 at 1:08
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    @Dude, my local va'ad, the KVH, has a cholov-Yisroel hechshered restaurant which, due to non-Jewish ownership, is open on Shabbat. I don't know of anyone notable in the community who doesn't hold of there, but eats at restaurants Jun 9, 2023 at 13:43

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Your question seems to beg two things - Is it reliable, as well as some info about the hashgacha. As for info, I located this article about the supervising rabbi, Rabbi Israel Mayer Steinberg of Vaad Harabonim Lemeshmeret Hakashrut, as well as this article that focuses a bit more specifically on the 2nd Ave. Deli.

The controversy, as I understand it, relates to whether a place that is open on Shabbat can be considered kosher?

Rabbi Steinberg states that the 2nd Ave. Deli has been sold to a non-Jew on Shabbat, thus, he claims that this would avoid the concern for those that won't eat in a place run by a non Shabbat observant Jew. I can't state how well this rule works both in general as well as regarding the 2nd Ave. Deli. They may have other specific kashrut problems, in general, that are unrelated to the Shabbat issue.

As for another place called "Littlelads", which no longer exists, that place was vegan. I had eaten there several times, unaware that there was a Shomer-Shabbat and mashgiach temidi issue. So, obviously, my actions and opinion, on this place are based on ignorance.

In general, I am uncertain if a place being Shomer Shabbat is an absolute requirement for a place to be kosher. I know that most certifying agencies won't certify such a place. We know that a large piece of kosher certification in the U.S. is political. Essentially, Rabbi Steinberg is using a less-favored opinion that states that a place can remain open on Shabbat and still remain kosher because it's not Jewishly owned on Shabbat.

What I will try to research further is if Rabbi Steinberg certifies places that are owned by non-Shomer-Shabbat Jews that DON'T sell their store. That adds another piece to the "puzzle". However, even in this case, I'm not sure if being non-shomer-Shabbat would invalidate the actual kashrut of a restaurant assuming that the food is kosher, and, if they had a mashgiach temidi, which even many certified establishments don't have.

In short, we have a interesting vagueness...

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  • As I commented in the thread below my OP, there is a well-known and reliable restaurant in Boston which has such a heter in its hashgacha. I know that most members of the Cambridge Orthodox community will eat food catered from either their milchig or their fleischig kitchen. Jun 27, 2016 at 19:48
  • @NoachMiFrankfurt You mention that the "Cambridge Orthodox community will eat food catered from either their milchig or their fleischig kitchen". Is its hechsher Cup-K or another one? I'm unclear. If it's a different hechesher that's doing the same idea as Cup-K, then why arte you hesitant to rely on Cup-K? FWIW, there were a number of Orthodox people I knew that ate at Littlelads (see above). Perhaps, they were more trusting because it was vegan vs. trusting 2nd Ave. Deli. However, I think in case of 2nd Ave. Deli, they may have been using Hebrew National & maybe other probs w/ meat was issue
    – DanF
    Jun 27, 2016 at 20:20
  • it's under the Badatz of Boston, which is listed in Kashrut.com's list. See kosher.mit.edu/kosher-boston for a list of local kosher places near me (the Cywiak hashgacha is also known as Badatz and is AFAIK also under the control of R' Yitzchok Aharon Korff of Zhvil) Jun 27, 2016 at 21:33
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    I have heard a rumour that his standards for carcasses are significantly more lenient than even Triangle K, although without any examples to back it up. Jun 28, 2016 at 1:21
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    @NoachMiFrankfurt, Tevere is open on Saturdays, one hour after Sunset.
    – Yishai
    Sep 18, 2016 at 3:17
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Cup-K shows the citation below. Note the Stringency line (Conservative) on the hechsher listing. This would raise a question in my mind.

One question would be what is done on Shabat and could the non-Jew bring in food then to cook. Is it like a franchise that can only use franchise provided food (that is always under supervision) like Carvel or certain Yogurt places or like a regular restaurant.

Cup-K

Under the supervision of Rabbi Israel Mayer Steinberg of Vaad Harabonim Lameshmeret Hakashrut.

Stringency: Conservative (Restaurants open on Shabbat)

Restaurants:

Bhojan – New York City
Loving Hut – New York City (Penn Station)
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I happened to just now pass by this place called Eden kosher in Yonkers. Prominently displayed in their window is a kosher certificate from cup k. Intrigued I walked into the place and walked right out after seeing the Hebrew National cold cuts. I have no vendetta against anyone and I'm not telling anyone what to do I'm just a simple frum guy and nobody's rabbi, but this certification fails the standards of anybody who actually bothers to verify a hechsher.

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    Hebrew National is under the certification of Triangle-K hebrewnational.com/triangle-k-kosher-certified Maybe you should try bothering to verify things instead of assuming that certain brands aren't Kosher.
    – Double AA
    Sep 19, 2016 at 18:45
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    @DoubleAA, many don't consider Triangle K reliable. Sep 20, 2016 at 1:27
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    @NoachMiFrankfurt Indeed, but it doesn't "fail[] the standards of anybody who actually bothers to verify a hechsher"
    – Double AA
    Sep 20, 2016 at 2:10
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An issue that looms large in my mind is the choice of a hechsher name that sounds so much like another, very trusted hechsher. Call up a restaurant and ask who supervises them. If the answer is "Cup K" you might well think they said kof-k.

Also, the Cup-K is NOT included in any O list of accepted hechsherim that I have seen, such as:
http://www.ozny.org/kosher
http://www.crcweb.org/agency_list.php

Organizations that serve their communities by compiling lists of restaurants with acceptable hechshers try to create complete lists. It might be that one organization might miss an acceptable restaurant or hechsher, but it is highly unlikely that a pattern of omission arose by chance. In short, that pattern is more than an "unsubstantiated rumor".

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    I don't see how this qualifies as "knowledge of the reliability of this hashgacha".
    – Double AA
    Sep 23, 2016 at 1:09
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    @DoubleAA What is likely is that they have knowledge of the person giving this hashgacha and do not approve of his standards.
    – Yehuda W
    Sep 23, 2016 at 21:37
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    @YehudaW It's certainly possible. You of course have no way of knowing. Perhaps you should be just as careful as they are about mistakenly spreading incorrect info about others.
    – Double AA
    Sep 23, 2016 at 21:49
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    @DoubleAA You are missing the big picture. The omission of Cup-K is shouting the opinion of these organizations. An omission is as clear a statement as these organizations will make publicly about a questionable hechsher. It is naive to expect such organizations to detail what they see as shortcomings in an omitted hechsher.
    – Yehuda W
    Sep 26, 2016 at 14:32
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    There are not that many restaurants in NYC with what the O community considers a reliable hechsher. So restaurants with an acceptable hechsher would tend to get on compiled lists. (Cup-K supervises many restaurants in NYC., so is not a minor player.) A hechsher that is not found in NYC (your Australian hechsher) is not relevant to the purpose of such lists. Further, the name similarity is not nonsense. It is a serious matter of misleading the consumer. There is established halacha about misleading the consumer in such ways.
    – Yehuda W
    Sep 26, 2016 at 16:04

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