The Woodbury Jewish Center filed court papers Monday to begin eviction proceedings against Morrell Caterers after a judge vacated a temporary restraining order Morrell had obtained in March.
The synagogue brought the action after the caterer’s former general manager and executive chef alleged in a January lawsuit that the principal co-owner, Scott Morrell, ordered them to prepare non-kosher food in one of the three synagogues in which Morrell is the exclusive caterer. Days later, the rabbi of the Woodbury Jewish Center, Raphael Adler, recommended to his board that Morrell’s contract be terminated due to a “loss of trust in Mr. Morrell’s integrity.”
Morrell denied the charges and filed a $10 million defamation suit against the rabbi.
In his 16-page decision, Mineola Supreme Court Justice Vito DeStefano cited numerous affidavits that indicated “the reputation of the temple’s rabbi and its congregation will be ‘irreparably harmed’ and ‘will continue to be doubted so long as Morrell’ continues catering on the temple’s premises.”
Although the kitchen in which non-kosher food was allegedly prepared was at Temple Beth Torah in Melville, the judge cited an affidavit from Rabbi Paul Drazin in which he wrote that the “rabbi’s trust is violated when a caterer, such as Scott Morrell, is accused of violating the sanctity of kashruth.”