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October 24, 2014 / 30 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘KOSHER’

After ‘Pig Restaurant’ Scandal, Netanyahu Goes For Seafood

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Originally published at Jewish Business News.

Fresco by Scotto, the non-kosher Manhattan Italian restaurant picked by Prime Minister Netanyahu and his patron, Casino Magnate Sheldon Adelson, for their get together following Bibi’s UN Assembly speech this week (See Bibi, Sheldon, Doing Traif Italian Lunch After UN Assembly Speech), has become the focal point of a raging storm in Israel’s Haredi newspapers.

After all, those newspaper argued, a prime minister so vociferous on the rights of Jews to a variety of territories and security guarantees could spend some time concentrating on the obligations of those same Jews, at least when he’s dining in public.

They dubbed it “The pig restaurant” scandal, even though, according to the NY Post, Bibi had veal chops.

Now the daily Maariv has revealed that after his lunch at the pig joint, Netanyahu was the guest of honor at a dinner with a group of Jewish billionaires at the Chart House, a sea food joint offering crabs, calamari and shrimp, which are all on the don’t list in Leviticus.

And while the pig lunch with Sheldon could pass for a private affair—just a meeting of a man and his sugar daddy—the Chart House gig was as official as they come. Present were Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer and his wife, Netanyahu’s chief of staff Ari Harow, and Netanyahu’s man in New York Ze’ev Rubinstein.

The tycoons munching on forbidden crawlers included Mort Zuckerman, Morad Zamir, Daniel Levi and Israel Schwartz.

Maariv noted that one of the billionaires at the table was Spencer Partridge, who gained notoriety a while back over the “Bibitours” scandal – he airlifted Netanyahu and his family around North America on his private jet, which the Israeli AG investigated for a while. Now the case was closed and so the friendship can be renewed over a plate of Shrimp.

A reader criticized my coverage of Bibi’s pig lunch, calling it “hate speech.” I suppose she will have something to say about this piece, too. I don’t believe I’ve advocated outright hatred for Bibi – but I did question his judgment. Manhattan is packed with quality kosher restaurants, every one of which would have been delighted to close for a day and feed just Bibi and his deep pockets.

It’s not a crime for Israel’s prime minister to eat traif in public, but it’s certainly in bad taste. Even when the meal is delicious.

Cholov Yisrael and ‘Glatt’ at Wal-Mart!

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

“Kosher” is the new fad, and some of America’s largest discount chains are cashing in.

It was nearly two years ago that a Wal-Mart spokesman revealed that the mega discounter carried kosher products in more than 500 stores, part of a growing trend where Club stores and discount chains like Costco, Sam’s Club, Target, and BJ’s were investing more in kosher.

For Wal-Mart, its emergence as the nation’s largest grocer meant that it was only a matter of time that the mega discounter would challenge supermarkets with an emphasis on kosher. Every summer Wal-Mart becomes a serious competitor in kosher at its Catskills stores where sales are said to approach $3 million for just the 10 weeks of the summer when tens of thousands of Jews descend on the Upstate New York resort area.

Its new store in Skokie, Illinois raises the bar on kosher with hundreds of kosher products, including Cholov Yisrael products and glatt kosher meats.

Most notable in the new store is its rather impressive large signage of kosher aisles, special refrigerators and freezers and even bakery. Its average kosher section in many stores is about 12 square feet compared to 100 square feet for the Skokie store.

Wal-Mart will be taking on the impressive Kosher Marketplace in Jewel-Osco, the city’s largest interdependent exclusive kosher supermarket, Hungarian Kosher and the small Kol Tuv market.

Soon to come will be a new Marriano’s supermarket that has already announced its intention of including a robust kosher section.

Wal-Mart is not alone in its quest for a share of the kosher market. Costco continues to upgrade its kosher offerings as is Target and BJ’s.

While many kosher purveyors expressed delight at the Wal-Mart development, they acknowledge that “it is still very much an experiment for them.”

Flemish Minister Calls for Ritual Slaughter Ban in Belgium

Monday, September 29th, 2014

The General Director of the European Jewish Association Rabbi Menachem Margolin has protested a proposal by a Flemish government minister to implement a total ban on the practice of Jewish ritual slaughter, insisting such a move “is against freedom of religion.”

Flemish Minister for Animal Welfare Ben Weyts said on Belgian television Sunday that he would actively pursue a total ban on the practice of animal slaughter without pre-stunning, beginning next year.

Responding to the latest attack on the ancient Jewish ritual, Rabbi Margolin emphasized that the Jewish practice of “Shechita” is “the most humane method of slaughter” because it ensures the welfare of the animal not only at the time of slaughter, but also concerns itself with “the conditions in which animals are raised before their slaughter.”

He added, “As well as being illogical and inconsistent from the perspective of animal rights, labelling kosher meat will give ammunition to anti-Semites to attack Jewish tradition.”

Mr. Weyts called for religious groups to adhere to current legislation which allows animal slaughter without pre-stunning to be carried out only in licensed abattoirs. Further legislation, he added, was on the agenda for 2015. His Belgian government counterpart, Wallon Minister Carlo Di Antonio, indicated it would “take the same shape as that suggested by” the Flemish Minister.

Death Row Inmate: ‘Kosher-like’ is Not Kosher’

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

An inmate on death row at the Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, Connecticut, has filed a hand-written lawsuit against the state claiming that that his right to practice freedom of religion is being violated — suddenly, after six years of incarceration.

Steven Hayes, 51, is claiming in his suit against the Connecticut State Department of Corrections that he is a practicing Orthodox Jew and is being denied kosher food, which he says he has requested since May 2013. (Hayes said he previously practiced Taoism, according to the Raw Story website.)

His Jewish status, however, seems to be rooted solely in his own belief; Hayes describes himself as a “self-converted Jew” and there are no claims of having a Jewish mother nor any documentation of any conversion according to Jewish law, which would mandate the necessity for him to receive kosher food. His knowledge of conversion apparently stems from discussions he had with a previous prison rabbi in the 1990s.

As is explained by the Jewish Prisoner Services International organization: “A Jew is one who has either been born Jewish or has been properly converted. One cannot become a Jew by simply declaring that he/she is Jewish, or by beginning to practice the Jewish faith.”

Regardless, Hayes says in his lawsuit, “This continuous denial of a kosher diet is a clear violation of my First Amendment right to freely practice my religion of choice, Judaism.” He also charges the Department with cruel and unusual punishment because he is forced to eat non-kosher food in order to survive. Hayes claims he has lost weight due to this issue, which prevents him from eating properly, according to reports published in the Hartford Courant and New Haven Register newspapers.

The inmate was convicted in 2010 for invading a home in Cheshire in 2007, where he assaulted and strangled a mother to death. He also attacked and murdered her two daughters, ages 11 and 17, tying them to their beds and then leaving them there while setting the house on fire. The children’s father, the lone survivor of the attack, was severely beaten but managed to escape. (Another man was involved in the crime as well.)

The prison kitchen has no strictly kosher certification, Hayes says in his lawsuit, and so he has asked for pre-packaged kosher food. Instead, he claimed, the kitchen staff told him the food served at the prison is “kosher-like.” But in his lawsuit, Hayes responded that “kosher-like is not kosher,” the Courant reported.

According to a separate report by the New Haven Register, Hayes has been consulting with and speaking with a prison rabbi. He has also asked for more time with the rabbi, the paper reported.

In addition, he has asked for $15,000 in punitive and compensatory damages for “intentional infliction of pain, suffering and resulting weight loss from the deliberate denial of a kosher diet.” Hayes also wants a trial by a judge. And a court order forcing the Department of Corrections to make sure pre-packaged kosher meals are provided to him – and to every other Jewish prisoner in the Connecticut penal system.

The attorney for Hayes, public defender Thomas Ullmann, says he is “happy he is finding some spiritual solace.” He adds, “This is what being on death row does. People are sitting in their cells, not doing anything, so filing federal lawsuits is the kind of thing that happens.”

The Department’s acting director of external affairs, Karen Martucci, says the lawsuit was referred to the Attorney General. A spokesperson from the A-G’s office, Jaclyn Falkowski, said in response to a query, “We are reviewing the complaint and will respond at the appropriate time in court.”

At least he’s not asking for a raise in his monthly salary. In fact, he may not even have a monthly salary. After all, he hasn’t had any tutoring from the Palestinian Authority terrorists sitting in Israeli prisons.

British Police Arrest Jew for Fighting PA Flag Wavers at Kosher Deli

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Police in Greater London arrested a Jew last week for scuffling with more than dozen demonstrators waving a Palestinian Authority flag and chanting anti-Semitic remarks outside a Jewish deli.

No one was injured in the incident at Flax’s Kosher Deli in the Borough of Bushey Heath, on the outskirts of London.

The only one who was arrested was the 47-year-old Jew, who along with other deli customers barged out of the store to confront the protesters.

Jewish man has been arrested in Bushey Heath after a fight involving socialists who produced Palestinian flags as they marched past a kosher deli.

Police investigators asserted that “no evidence was found that any race or religious hate crimes had occurred,” according to Britain’s JewishNews online website, but witnesses’ remarks indicate that the police investigation was not very thorough.

Among the “non-hate” remarks were, “Jews aren’t safe – we’re coming to get you.”

The demonstration was ostensibly a “March for Jobs” protest, with Palestinian Authority flags. The connection between unemployment and waving the PA flag outside a Jewish deli is not clear, unless the anti-Zionists were demanding that they work in the Kosher deli, assuming they understand Jewish dietary laws.

“That flag, in this area, with all that’s going on in the world in Gaza, it was bound to cause trouble.” said deli manager Mitchell Swillman. “ It escalated as they made their way down to Bushey village. From what I understand these guys were being quite anti-Semitic.”

 

The conclusion by police that there was not hate speech may explain why out of 240 anti-Semitic incidents registered last month, only 20 of them were followed up by an investigation or arrests.

London’s Community Security Trust (CST) blog stated, “The actual data is bad enough, but cannot convey the mood of the Jewish community, with many people telling us that they have never felt so bad, have been under such pressure, nor worried so much about what the future may hold.”

The Jews are worried. They sit and worry and come up with reasons why not to move to Israel.

Donna Rachel Edmunds, a councillor for Lewes District Council and founder and editor of UKIPDaily.com, wrote on her Breitbart.com, “I’ve lived my life entirely in the south east of England… As a libertarian, I’m proud to call thinkers such as Smith and Hume my fellow countrymen….

“I’ve never really thought of myself as being is an immigrant although technically I am – albeit second generation….Another label I’ve never meaningfully attached to myself is ‘Jewish’, although, again technically, I am.

“Yet I’ve never stepped foot inside a synagogue. I think I once took part in a Passover meal when I was very young, but other than that my mother made no real effort to educate my sister or myself on our Jewish roots. Our only tangible link to our maternal heritage is through soup: chicken noodle when we’re feeling ill; borscht when we want something filling….

“So I was as surprised as anyone when I found myself uttering six loaded words recently. And by ‘recently’ I don’t mean once, dropped into a passing conversation. I mean at least a dozen times, in a dozen such conversations over the past few weeks. Those words were “Maybe we should move to Israel….

“Not, primarily, because I worry about the rise in anti-Semitic attacks affecting me personally. As a church-going Christian I wear a cross on a necklace, and am more often assumed to be Spanish, if anything, so I doubt I would be targeted on the street….

“The reason that I’m seriously considering a move to Israel in the next few years is because I’m developing a strong suspicion that Israel is going to be one of the safest countries on the planet to live in over the next few decades….

Rabbis Find Bugs in Most American Fruits and Vegetables

Monday, August 18th, 2014

The majority of fruits and vegetables are now suspect for infestation, according to rabbinic authorities.

Rabbis are finding the tiny bugs in previously “clean” fruits and vegetables under the microscope, and the (Chicago Rabbinical Council (cRc website notes that it “is continuing conducting an intense review of its policy regarding insect infestation in fruits and vegetables.”

The rabbis note that the insects can be removed with proper cleaning but add that most people simply do not have the knowledge to do such a proper cleaning. Bug checking has become a major topic for seminars for rabbis and kosher supervisors as well as ordinary consumers.

The cRc wants to keep customers away from that task. “Many times one comes across a fruit or vegetable that is highly infested with insect,” they said. “This is especially true with some organic produce. In such a case, one should not attempt to try and check and remove the insects and the produce should not be used. This is due to the fact that you are highly unlikely to properly check and remove all of the insects.”

A Montreal kosher supervisor Montreal recently issued a “kashrus alert” about strawberries that were found to contain bugs.

However, kosher agencies offer advice on how to cut the suspected fruit or vegetable and how to properly rinse. For those in kosher food service this can create havoc in a business.

“Imagine ordering a large quantity of a fruit or vegetable only to be told by the rabbi that I cannot use it because my agency just sent out an alert about it,” one caterer said.

A major kosher supermarket said it had to discontinue some salads when such notices were received by their rabbi. Some vegetables have become no-nos as rabbis say they cannot be checked.

A good example is artichokes, which the rabbis say cannot be properly checked for insects and are not recommended. Fresh artichoke bottoms may be used after a general inspection to rule out obvious infestation. Canned artichoke bottoms are acceptable only with a reliable approval from a kosher agency.

Frozen artichoke bottoms may be used if there are no added kosher sensitive ingredients. When asked for their reaction, some rabbis simply said that when pesticides are no longer used, it is no mystery why the bugs thrive.

Consuming bugs is against Jewish law.

Kosher Supervisors Wary of Worldwide Anti-Semitism

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

The news that the Chief Rabbinate withdrew kosher supervisors from Turkish plants in the face of Israel’s war in Gaza is part of what some kashrus organizations call “working in a more dangerous world.”

They recall the murder of two kosher supervisors in Mumbai in December 2008, and extremists have recently threatened more terror in Mumbai.

In Europe, growing anti-Semitism has also rung the alarm bells. According to sources in the Chief Rabbinate’s office, one direct result of the turmoil in many places in the world is to restrict the travel of kashrus officials in trouble spots.

The Orthodox Union’s Kashrus Division director Rabbi Moshe Elefant whose office certifies companies in 99 nations, says that the organization relies heavily on local rabbinic authorities in many parts of the world, many within the Chabad worldwide network.

Kashrus officials think twice before dispatching a rabbi into a part of the world that they may not be familiar with. Relying on local rabbis who “understand the lay of the land” seems to be the new modus operandi of may kashrus organizations.

The caution has extended even to Israel where some food plants are located in Sderot and other border towns.

The above article was published by Kosher Today.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/kosher-supervisors-wary-of-worldwide-anti-semitism/2014/08/07/

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