November 10, 2017: Halachic ‘loopholes’

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Halachic ‘loopholes’
In “Local rabbinate checking Jewishness of restaurant employees, Knesset committee hears” (November 8), your reporter writes that there are “widely-used loopholes within Jewish law,” one of which allows “non-Jews to cook in kosher restaurants.”
It is a pity that your reporter relies on partial information given by those interested in defaming the Chief Rabbinate – a quite common practice in Israel and in your newspaper. It’s a pity because a standard reader does not know any better and swallows this hook, line and sinker.
The Sephardi poskim (decisors) are quite clear: A Jew may not eat food for which a non-Jew was involved in the cooking process. Period. The Ashkenazi poskim, based on their understanding of Halacha and not on an effort to find loopholes or be populists, ruled that if a Jew is involved in any part of the cooking process, a Jew may eat that food.
It is quite obvious that a restaurant interested in serving food to the general public must take the halachic precaution so that Sephardi Jews can eat there without being caused to unknowingly eat something they should not eat.
We regularly hear “Where are we living? This is the 21st century? They can serve in the army!” – populist outbursts that mean nothing. Each Tom, Dick and Harry thinks he knows Judaism better than the rabbinate and can instruct the rabbis on how to rule according to Halacha. Give me a break from such reporting!
Rather than take a principled stand on the issue, Rabbi Julie Roth decided to weasel out of allowing Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely to speak at the Princeton Hillel by going through “procedures.”
Now, in “An apology” (November 8), Roth, probably worried about keeping her job as executive-director of the Center for Jewish Life at Princeton (she should be fired), and Hillel International president and CEO Eric Fingerhut, probably worried about retaining contributions from Jewish alumni of Princeton, offer a lengthy apology for this morally wrong decision.
One wonders how long the two labored over this mealy-mouthed apology.
This is, sad to say, an example of how the American Jewish establishment has lost its bearings.
Moral equivalence
The ADL, among other groups in America that used to be “Jewish organizations,” finds that there is an alarming surge of antisemitic incidents in the US (“Antisemitic incidents surge in US, says ADL,” November 5). I find it very noteworthy that all this antisemitism seems to be among neo-Nazis and the far-right.
Jewish organizations are always tough when it comes to wannabe imitators of the enemies defeated in Europe 72 years ago. Today’s problem is with radical Islamic terrorism and the fear it instills in Americans – especially among Jewish youths on college campuses, where free speech is a thing of the past and Hillels are a target.
The ÀDL prefers not to touch the antisemitism of the Left, and when it does, it defends the immigration of violent people, inaccurately comparing them to Jews fleeing the Nazis who were denied entry to the US – people who only sought to build the societies in which they wanted to live.
This moral equivalence is killing us.
Lighten up
Am I the only one who has difficulty seeing pedestrians at night, especially in Jerusalem, where the color of choice seems to be black? Many years ago in the UK, there was an advertising campaign: “At night, wear something light.” We could do with a campaign like that here.
The town of Monroe and its enclave of Kiryas Joel (“NY vote sees Kiryas Joel breaking off as Palm Tree, first all-Haredi US town,” November 9) are in Rockland County, New York, and not as stated in the article.