Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tossing Accusations in Kashrut

A few weeks ago, we were among the thousands who received an email with an extensive listing of certified kosher restaurants and the reasons why some are reliable and others aren't. I pored through the Hebrew, not easy.

The Jerusalem Post has an article on it, which doesn't get its kosher laws straight. For instance, they mixed up bishul goy, cooked by a non-Jew, with the laws concerning wine.

Orthodox Jewish law prohibits eating some foods cooked by gentiles so as to prevent the development of close relationships between Jews and non-Jews that could lead to intermarriage and assimilation.

The writer should have stuck with the interview and not tried to add extra things. Kosher food/cooking must be supervised all the time. So if your cooks and fire-lighters aren't Jewish, are there Jews in the kitchen at all? The report about one restaurant was very frightening. It said that the Arab workers had the rabbis terrified, so even though officially there are supervisors, they have no real active authority.

I wonder which restaurants Rabbi Eliyahu Schlesinger and Rabbi Benny Lau eat in. And I also wonder if they would continue eating there after paying surprise visits to the kitchen.


Esser Agaroth said...


Yeah, and in this day and age, who wants to get poisoned either?

Cafe Rimon, that place recently in Ramat Gan...

That's why I stick with Sefardim and Teimanim as much as I can, plus Rav Rubin (I have heard he is also mahmir, but have not received confirmation).

rickismom said...

Frankly, if you would go into the kitchen of almost ANY resteraunt, you wouldn't want to eat there.

Batya said...

ya'aqov, davka on this list Rimon came out on top. Maybe things have improved.

rmom, I used to cook in a day care center and was so strict. When I saw what others did, I was happy not to be invited. I guess we're all hardier than we think.

rockofgalilee said...

actually there are different laws, one for food cooked by a non-jew (pat akum) and another for wine (יין נסך). The reason for wine was because of idol worship and the reason for bread was so that we don't become too friendly with them.

I do agree with you that they shouldn't be throwing halacha into jpost articles as they very often generalize or get partial things right.

Batya said...

Thanks for the clarification.
Also, I try not to "explain" halachot, because if technology makes the explaination passe` the halacha still stands.

Hadassa DeYoung said...

I have insider information on this because I attend a weekly class given by the rabbi who founded Kosharot. (Ben-Yehudah, he says that Rav Rubin is one of the best hechers.) Rav Katz (the founder) is originally from America so if anyone has questions and wants them answered in English, he can do it. The news of the leaked document was of great concern to Kosharot. We could tell by the look on R. Katz's face during the first class after the leak. The rabbis and their assistants research everything so carefully and they are so thorough it's such a shame that a leaked document is giving them a bad name. They would never comment about a restaurant without visiting the kitchen. The owner who claimed that Kosharot hadn't been there probably was unaware that one of their representatives had been at his restaurant in his absence.
btw "pat akum" is specifically bread, the rules for what a non-Jew is allowed to do vary according to what the food is and the rules for Sephardim and Ashkenazim are very different in some cases.
If Rav Katz is ever in your neighborhood giving a lecture, I highly recommend attending. He speaks well and has interesting presentations on his computer.
And if you think the kashrut situation in Israel is bad, ask Rav Katz about what goes on outside of Israel.

Batya said...

Hadassa, thanks for the clarification. Where are the shiurim?

Hadassa DeYoung said...

Sorry it took me so long to check out the blog again. The weekly classes are definitely in Elon Moreh on yom rishon - separate classes for men and women - and if they start again after summer break, on yom shishi in Har Bracha. From time to time, especially before Rosh HaShana, Pesah etc. Rav Katz gives one time lectures at various locations around Israel. The lectures are advertised in the usual places that lectures given by "national religious" rabbis are advertised.

Batya said...

Thanks, let's see what I can do this year. I don't have a car, so traveling can get complicated.