Photo Credit: The Blue Rooster website screenshot
The Blue Rooster restaurant where TAU hosted foreign students excluding the kosher-keeping plaintiff.

The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court this week ordered Tel Aviv University to pay compensation in the amount of NIS 30,000 ($8,700) to a kashrut-observing student who was invited several times to a non-kosher restaurant for networking with foreign Chinese students. Judge Aviyam Barkai also ordered the university to pay court costs and attorney’s fees in the amount of NIS 15,000 ($4,350), but stopped short of granting the plaintiff’s demand for a sweeping restraining order that would prohibit the university in the future from holding events directly related to its activities in non-kosher restaurants.

The plaintiff, who at the time was working on his master’s degree at TAU, claimed that the decision to hold the get-together with foreign students in non-kosher restaurants was intentional, and intended to keep him away from those events. He said that despite his repeated pleas to the administration to conduct those events in a kosher restaurant, he was ignored, and the university never even attempted to find a kosher venue. In fact, three out of the four events were held in the same restaurant, The Blue Rooster.

Advertisement



Now, like the reader, my first reaction, as an observant Jew, to the case, was, why couldn’t the plaintiff go to those events and have a glass of water, or bring his own lunch. But then I noticed the judge’s comment regarding the university’s argument summary, which accused the plaintiff of bullying.

“This lawsuit is a bullying, improper, and outrageous attempt to dictate to the university and to all students–– including foreign students who fund the networking events out of their own pockets–– the personal faith of the plaintiff and the values of the Torah and Labor Trustees movement.”

In other words, the lawsuit may have been the tip of an iceberg with lots of secular vs. religious wars just below the surface. It also convinced me that the plaintiff was not being paranoid – and maybe they really did want to keep him away from those events.

Or, as the judge put it: “In his appeals as well as in the lawsuit, the plaintiff sought to defend an interest that in his opinion is legitimate. It seems that describing the plaintiff as a bully is out of place.”

The university argued that the plaintiff was offered an alternative: a foil-wrapped kosher or vegetarian meal, which the judge shot down, saying it would cause the plaintiff to stand alone in an event that’s dedicated to networking and inclusion.

However, the judge stopped short of interfering with the way the university conducts its events in the future, being careful not to set stringent limits on its choices.

Advertisement

SHARE
Previous article‘Anti-Semitism’: The Word’s a DISASTER
Next articleCoffee Prices To Skyrocket; Global Harvest Near Record Lows
David writes news at JewishPress.com.