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July 28, 2016 / 22 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘KOSHER’

New Bill Revokes Get-Refusing Inmates’ ‘Mehadrin’ Kosher Food, Boarding Privileges

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

The Knesset on Wednesday debated a bill submitted by Habayit Hayehudi Chair MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli revoking the special privileges of prisoners who refuse to grant their wives a get-religious divorce. The bill singles out Orthodox Jewish prisoners who are entitled while behind bars to stay in the prison’s “religious” section, participate in Jewish studies, and eat a stricter-standard “kosher l’mehadrin” meals. The idea is to use the loss of these privileges to force the prisoner to set his wife free.

To be clear, the law does not deprive the Orthodox inmate of his basic Jewish needs, it merely takes away elements of his “ultra-Religious” lifestyle.

Some Orthodox prisoners are actually sitting in jail for their refusal to grant the get, so that by freeing their wives they can set themselves free. But in the case of these Orthodox men, prison often resembles their normal everyday life, and in some cases may be an improvement — in prison they can sit and learn all day with a group of other Orthodox men, celebrate Shabbat and the holidays, and not have to worry about parnossah (making a living). MK Moalem hopes that removing those prisoners’ ability to live a full Jewish life behind bars and inserting them in the general population might help change their outlook on life in prison.

MK Moalem-Refaeli said, “A man who turns his wife into an aguna and refuses to obey the judges’ order to stop abusing her is not truly a man who values halakha and maintaining a Jewish lifestyle. He tramples the most essential Jewish principle, Love your fellow man as you would yourself, only to make his wife’s life miserable. Therefore he is not worthy of enjoying the plethora of privileges prison affords religious inmates.”

JNi.Media

High Court Sides with Rabbinate, Rejects AG Push for ‘Alternative’ Kosher Certificates

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Israel’s Supreme Court on Monday embraced the position of the Chief Rabbinate on the Law prohibiting kashrut fraud, that a business may not present itself in writing as kosher, with or without the use of the word Kosher, unless it receives a kashrut certification from the only legally authorized body — the chief rabbinate, Walla reported. The decision dealt a severe blow to alternative kashrut certification services which have been operating in several Israeli cities, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, as well as food service businesses that keep kosher but do not carry a certification.

The appeal to the Supreme Court came from the Reform movement’s Israel Religious Action Center, in the name of two Jerusalem restaurant owners, Shai Gini and Yonatan Vadi, who argued that the food they serve is kosher despite the fact that they do not carry a kashrut certification from their local rabbinate. According to the appellants, there’s no problem with their presenting their food as kosher because it is. They appealed to the high court after their local Rabbinate levied fines on them based on the common interpretation of the kashrut fraud law, namely that only Rabbinate-certified food is accepted as being kosher.

The former AG, Yehuda Weinstein, reinterpreted the law following the appeal, ruling that the state may no longer fine restaurant owners who present kosher certificates from private kashrut services, and must cancel the fines that have already been issued. The AG only required that the restaurants in question not claim that the alternative certifications for their businesses had been issued by the Rabbinate.

In a rare exception, the Supreme Court permitted the Chief Rabbinate to present its case separately from the AG, and eventually accepted its position in a two to one ruling that the Rabbinate is the only statewide accepted authority on kashrut. The two justices in the majority were Noam Sohlberg and Elyakim Rubinstein. Justice Uri Shoham sided with the AG.

The Justices decided to limit their ruling to the next two years, subject to a system-wide change the court is demanding of the Chief Rabbinate, to reexamine the relationship between the certifying kashrut supervisor and the business he is auditing, so that they do not depend financially on the business they are expected to monitor. Justice Rubinstein suggested that “should this not be resolved in a significant and serious way, the entire subject may be reopened.”

Both Chief Rabbis commended the court’s decision; Rabbi David Lau said that a decision to permit alternative certificates, some of which are fictitious, would have led to a serious misleading of the public; Rabbi Yizhak Yosef said that the Chief Rabbinate regularly goes out of its way to make the kaashrut maintenance easier and cheaper for food service businesses.

MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) said it was “refreshing to see a conservative approach on the part of the Supreme Court,” and praised the majority justices on overcoming their tendency for activism. The MK said he yearns for a time of “more balance in the relationship between the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government.”

JNi.Media

Yeshiva Suing Arab Manufacturer Who Faked Kosher Certification

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

Yeshiva High School Mekor Haim has sued Primo, an Arab-owned company from the Jerusalem industrial park Atarot, for selling it packages of sugar with a kashrut certificate of the Jerusalem Chief Rabbinate — even though Primo lost its certification five years ago. The packages in question also bear the name and insignia of the Batdatz (Haredi) certification, but without the word for “under the supervision of.”

The plaintiffs say they sustained damages of about $100 to $150 each after having bought a large quantity of the Primo sugar, but they seek punitive damages of about $1.2 million.

David Israel

Berlin’s Newest Kosher Supermarket Ignores EU Anti-Israel Orders

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Germany’s answer to the European Union’s order to label “Green Line” goods was to allow the nation’s biggest kosher supermarket, Daily Markt, to open in Berlin.

In the heart of the nation where Jews once feared to tread, one can shop “blue-and-white” – and find quite a few products from Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights.

The initiative comes as a joint effort by German business owner Asan Mytev – who is not Jewish – along with several Jewish entrepreneurs and the assistance of Berlin Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal.

Located in the Chartlottenburg district, the store stocks only kosher items – a boon for those who until now have had to really search for such products.

“We will not be deterred by the security situation,” said Evgeny Bort, co-partner and store manager. “It doesn’t scare us and we don’t linger on it or pay attention to it. We cannot let terrorism stop us and interfere with our lives.”

Rabbi Teichtal likewise noted, “Although in the past our people have faced very difficult times in Europe in general and in Germany in particular, the necessary arrangements for maintaining Jewish life were always made. Although the situation today is quite different, we are still facing security challenges – but they do not discourage us.

“The new supermarket is another addition to the current line of Jewish institutions in the Berlin community which together enable us to maintain a full Jewish life in the city. As observant Jews we see this not only as a duty but also as a privilege.”

Bort acknowledged that some customers were critical of the decision to stock Israeli items, but dismissed the feedback.

“We have many customers who respond negatively … We tell them that this is none of our concern and that we are here to assist all those who wish to shop for kosher products but find the task to be very difficult.”

Why would a non-Jew want to open such a store? Mytev explained, “Until now, anyone who wanted to buy kosher products was forced to visit several different stores in order to find them all… In fact, for all of those customers who wish to buy only kosher products, the seemingly simple task of grocery shopping is actually a very difficult one.

“The Daily Markt provides them with a solution to this problem, enabling them to buy all kinds of kosher products under one roof.”

Due to the size of the business, the partners say they can also afford to offer “decent prices” despite the cost of imports.

“We have decided to sell everything here and to import goods from all over the world – from Europe, the U.S. and also from Israel,” explained Bort.

Surprisingly, almost half of the store’s non-Jewish clientele shop there “because of our affordable prices, regardless of the kosher issue… Also a large number of our non-Jewish customers come here because of our ‘parve’ products, which are known to be lactose-free.

“Like in the United States, the local population in Germany is also starting to realize that kosher is a standard for high-quality and healthy products.”

Hana Levi Julian

Some Ultra-Orthodox Troubled by Bazooka’s New Kosher Certification

Monday, November 30th, 2015

For religious Jewish kids growing up in America, Topps’ Bazooka bubble gum was the ultimate forbidden candy, along with the Topps’ bubble gum that was packaged along with the Topps’ baseball cards (you bought it for the baseball cards, right?). In Israel, Elite sold the gum with a standard kashrut certification and many a package of Elite Bazooka gum was shipped to America over the years.

Only recently did the Israeli ultra-Orthodox kashrut service of the “Badatz” (Hebrew acronym for Court of Justice) award the Elite Bazooka gum with a Mehadrin certification, classified as “Megadim” which is a fancy biblical word for sweets. But upgrading the certification from standard kosher to ultra kosher apparently hasn’t helped a few among the Israeli ultra-Orthodox reverse their attitudes. Yael Kliger, writing for Kikar Hashabbat, in a piece titled “Kosher but Smelly,” said she just cannot accept this chewy product, which she had been taught was made from pig’s fat.

Even the American Bazooka, which has been kosher certified for years now, was unacceptable to Israeli Haredim. “It was the treif of treifs, darkness within darkness,” Kliger recalls. The comic strip inside the gum wrapper was sought by her and her peers “to try to read the joke, often feeling bad and sinful for stupidly daring to touch the powdery wrapper of the treif gum.”

Ask any middle aged ultra-Orthodox man or woman, Kliger wrote, “they all remember some drama or horror story related to this product. Someone wrote that he remembers his grade school rabbi taking a lighter, igniting the gum in front of the students, and telling them that the dripping red liquid was the blood of the ‘other thing’ from the gum.”

“And now, unanimously it’s been decided bazooka is in?” Kliger argues that the Badatz, known for its assaults not only against unreliable kosher certifications, but also against smartphones, publications, all the many elements that they deem not to belong in an honorable Jewish home, now, for the money they received from the Elite candy maker, they see fit to reverse decades of group behavior?

There are many opinions on the reason for singling out the Bazooka as treif in the Haredi community in Israel, and to some extent abroad—as many views as there are talkback comments on Kliger’s article. Some believe it had to do with the fact that the Bazooka gum presented a challenge in terms of control — it’s so easy to grab and stuff in your mouth, so the rabbis had to put the fear of God in kids’ hearts. Others suggest it came down to the comics and the jokes — rabbis don’t like their kids reading jokes without a measure of control.

One talkbacker said the kashrut certification is meaningless, because of the halachic concept of “minhag hamakom,” the local practice. If it’s been forbidden, it should stay so.

In fact, Kliger was calling on the Badatz to demand some changes in the product, so it wouldn’t appear as if what has been so decidedly treif for so long is suddenly permissible. Like Mad Magazine and Cracked.

The Israeli Bazooka jokes, by the way, are even less amusing than the original, and are often plagued by bad translation from the English. Shahar Ilan, who reported on the new Haredi certification in Ha’aretz, used as an illustration a Bazooka comic strip in which a waiter serves Bazooka Joe soup, and the latter complains that it has “ta’am matzhik” which in Hebrew means “hilarious taste,” to which the waiter retorts: “So why aren’t you smiling?” — leaving the Hebrew reader scratching their head wondering why the soup was so hilarious.

JNi.Media

‘Bad Timing’ of Christmas Hurts Chanukah Sales

Saturday, November 28th, 2015

Observant Jews cringe every year that Chanukah and Christmas overlap, leading to sacrilegious combinations of customs, but the kosher industry is losing out when the two holidays are totally separate, such as this year

Chanukah beings next Sunday night, December 6, and ends eight days later, almost two weeks before the Christians holiday.

Industry experts say that Chanukah is the third most important holiday on the Jewish calendar, following Passover and the High Holy Days, according to Kosher Today.

It reported:

Some industry officials believe that the calendar is not in their favor and prefer a Chanukah date that is close to Christmas. Next year, for example the first day of Chanukah falls on Christmas eve, the reason many non-traditional kosher customers buy kosher as gifts for Jewish friends and co-workers.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Businessmen Want Rabbinic Boycott of Palestinian Authority Food Items

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Food industry executives are calling for a boycott of Palestinian Authority items, some of which carry a stamp of approval as kosher by respected rabbis.

One food manufacturer told Globes Business newspaper:

They stab us. The world boycotts us, and we act like idiots and help them [Arabs] make a living.

One of the products on the potential boycott list is the Medjool date, a high-quality and relatively expensive date.

The Medjool dates in packages stamped as “Made in Palestine” carry a kosher certificate of high standing under the approval of “Rabbi Efrati.”

The Gatestone Institute reported this week that Palestinian Authority farmers in the Jordan Valley are able to grow Medjool dates thanks to a Jewish resident in the area whom they told that salty soil was not suitable for growing the fruit.

The farmer, Inon Rosenblum, used techniques to improve the soil so that it produces dates, grapes and herbs for export. His employees are Palestinian Authority Arabs, and he gave date palm seedlings to his Arab neighbors so they could grow them

Jews and Arabs living in the Jordan Valley account for approximately 40% of Medjool dates around the world.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/businessmen-want-rabbinic-boycott-of-palestinian-authority-food-items/2015/11/25/

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