Rabbinate rescinds Pasta Basta fine

Fine widely seen as effort to frighten restaurants into avoiding increasingly popular idea of independent, Orthodox kashrut supervision.

November 8, 2017 13:18
1 minute read.
Rabbinate rescinds Pasta Basta fine

Pasta Basta's new kashrut certificate from Hashgacha Pratit, detailing the kashrut standards they maintain as permitted under a ruling of the High Court of Justice this month. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The fine levied by the Chief Rabbinate against the popular Pasta Basta eatery in Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda market has been formally rescinded on instructions of the Chief Rabbinate’s legal adviser that it was not in fact legal.

The fine, imposed on the restaurant in September, was widely seen as an attempt by the Chief Rabbinate to prop up its monopoly which suffered a serious blow when the High Court of Justice ruled in September that restaurants can describe in a displayed document what kashrut standards they observe, without stating in writing that they are kosher.

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This ruling was a huge fillip for the independent, Orthodox kashrut authority Hashgacha Pratit which provides kashrut supervision to several dozen restaurants, including Pasta Basta, and it reworded its kashrut certificates to take advantage of the ruling.

The Chief Rabbinate hit Pasta Basta with a fine the very next day after the new certificate was put up in the restaurant, and then issued a press release to the media about having done so.

Hashgacha Pratit, along with others, alleged that the Chief Rabbinate had issued the fine without ever any intention of enforcing it because it was unenforceable in the light of the High Court ruling.

The only purpose, alleged Hashgacha Pratit officials at the time, was to warn other restaurants not to take up its kashrut supervision and ward off the Tzohar rabbinical association from opening its own kashrut supervision service, which it said it is considering.

Following the fine cancellation, Hashgacha Pratit said on Wednesday that this “proved” what it had claimed from the outset, “that the goal of the fine and warnings to other restaurants working with us stems from the rabbinate’s hysteria which sees the end of its kashrut monopoly getting closer.

It’s an attempt to frighten business owners.

“Restaurants working with Hashgacha Pratit are totally kosher, are under the inspection of Rabbi Oren Duvdevani and a professional team of God-fearing kashrut supervisors, and the wording of the declaration in these restaurants is commensurate with the High Court ruling and totally legal,” the organization said.

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