May 30, 2024
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May 30, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Who Is More Kosher, You or Me, and Does It Really Matter?

Never in my life did I think that the level of kashrut people kept was a contest. Each does what they are most comfortable with, and what they think is correct. Lately I really think that it has gotten out of control, and in a way the opinions of who keeps what has become a thorn in the importance of achdut. “Oh, he’s not so careful.” “I know that she buys fresh broccoli.” “I don’t think they ever check their strawberries.” It’s a dilemma that some in our community face when being invited to a friend or neighbor’s home for a meal.

I had never in my sheltered life in Canada heard of a warming drawer until I moved here and was invited to the home of a couple who had just redone their kitchen. The hostess was showing it off to her guests, and when I got home and asked what a warming drawer was, I was told that at least one rav in the community said that they cannot be used on Shabbat.

Oh, so now what? A local fruit and vegetable store that has a private hashgacha in our community, and where many women swear by the quality of its produce, apparently proudly sells berries, broccoli and other vegetables that many rabbonim say require special attention with regard to bugs. We are all our own mashgichim and have to make our own personal choices.

I know the kashrut situation in Israel is dissected by many. Is it mehadrin? Is it bedatz plus mehadrin … plus I do not know what else? Oh, rabbanut: “No way.”

It’s confusing but I feel very sad. Explain to me what I’m supposed to do as an outsider who visits a close friend in Alon Shvut. Both husband and wife are totally committed to mitzvot. I have never known her to miss a Mincha. She proudly took me for many walks in Alon Shvut on the path of derech avot and explained to me so many things from the Tanach, in which she is well versed. When they suggest that we go out to eat in Yerushalayim to a restaurant of their choice because they love that it is so typically Israeli, and I note that the hashgacha is rabbanut, should I refuse to eat there with them? Are they less careful than I?

When a grandchild was in seminary and came to join me at the Dan Panorama in Yerushalayim for breakfast and could not eat the dairy products because she was not sure if they were, I don’t know, chalav Yisroel enough? Aren’t the dairy products there chalav Yisroel bedieved?? I am so confused.

Nothing has upset me as much as recently when I heard a story about someone I know well who considers themselves more yeshivish—that basically means that when you ask them how the weather is they respond, B”H.” “How are the kids? B”H.” These friends have a son who went off the derech. He joined the IDF! Believe it or not he met a lovely dati leumi girl from a yishuv in Israel and they are getting married. Mazel tov! His American family needs to make sure that the wedding will be kosher! If I were the parents of that girl I would be so insulted. They are also apparently looking for a minyan for Shabbat in Yerushalayim “that won’t throw six people with black hats out.” What happened to v’ahavta l’reacha kemocha? Aren’t we all Jews who love the Torah and do mitzvot because we so believe in them?

I am hurt when I hear people have these discussions about Israel and the lack of acceptance by the more charedi, yeshivish community of the dati leumi communities. Their children are fighting every day to protect our country, a country that took in our grandparents and great-grandparents at a time when many countries closed their doors to them. Where do people think they will have to go once antisemitism takes over our communities? We are at a point now that none of us have ever seen before. Who would have dreamed that we would need security at each door of a shul, that our children would have guards in front of their schools, that a man could infiltrate a shul and kill 11 people?

Israel has enough problems without us outsiders stoking the fires of Jew against Jew. As far as I know, if your mother is Jewish you are just as Jewish as the next person, whether they daven in Sanz, Betar, Alon Shvut, Hashmonaim or Tel Aviv.


Nina Glick can be reached at [email protected]

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