Bakery owned by Jew for Jesus gets kashrut back

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Supreme Court ordered Ashdod’s chief rabbi to return a kashrut certificate to a bakery owned by a Jew for Jesus.

In Monday’s decision, the court said that Pnina Conforty’s religious beliefs did not render her Ashdod bakery unkosher.

Conforty, a Yemenite Jew, had her certificate removed by Rabbi Yosef Sheinen in 2006 when the Ashdod chief rabbi discovered that Conforty had embraced Jews for Jesus.

After Conforty petitioned the Supreme Court, Sheinen agreed to reinstate the bakery’s certification if she followed additional rules not required of other food merchants, including hiring an employee approved by Sheinen, giving a key to the bakery to the rabbi and not proselytizing on the premises.

The court based its ruling on a case from the late 1980s in which the Jerusalem Chief Rabbinate withdrew its kashrut certification from wedding halls and restaurants that allowed belly dancers to perform on the premises. The court ruled then that the issue of the dancer was not a core kashrut issue, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Responding to Monday’s decision, Sheinen told the Jerusalem Post, "It’s absurd that the Supreme Court is telling rabbis how to keep kosher."

In the telephone interview, he also said that "The Supreme Court is undermining the level of kosher supervision."

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