Several weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Colorado could not compel a Christian designer to create a website promoting gay marriage, a kosher West Orange, N.J. bakery canceled orders for a rainbow cake and 10 pounds of rainbow cookies for a conservative synagogue celebrating Pride month, one of those Pride orders was reportedly for their synagogue’s youth group.
The Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ initially wrote to staff and supporters on June 20 that it would no longer order from West Orange Bake Shop, after the kosher bakery canceled two orders from Congregation B’nai Israel, a Conservative congregation in Millburn, N.J.
Dov Ben-Shimon, executive vice president and CEO of the local Federation, wrote that the bakery’s decision “did not align with the value of B’tzelem Elohim, that each one of us is created in the Divine Image and deserves to be treated as such,” the New Jersey Jewish News reported. There might be some other biblical commandments he could familiarize himself with.
A week later—after the first email had been publicly reported—Ben-Shimon emailed a new statement. “We are looking forward to future conversations with the vendor with the goal of finding a resolution,” he wrote.
“We sincerely regret that our actions have caused divisiveness in our community as our aim is to bring the variety and richness of our many constituents together,” he added.
In the meantime, other Reform and Conservative temples and clergy have come out against the bakery.
Yitzy Mittel, the bakery’s co-owner, and an Orthodox Jew, told JTA that he had made a rainbow cake for the conservative synagogue last year, but had been unnerved, since it goes against his religious beliefs. The symbols are “a celebration of something which is against Torah,” he said. “I didn’t want to be making that cake.”
He told the wire that he also declines to make cakes with crosses, and that he would turn down business if a customer wanted him to write a homophobic message on a cake. He also consulted with a rabbi and lawyer before making the decision. He was prepared to provide them the pastries without the Pride decorations.
In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado baker, who declined to create a custom wedding cake for a same-sex couple on religious grounds.
JewishPress.com News Desk contributed to this report.