At Jerusalem Eatery, ‘Kosher’ Means Fewer Waitresses
A Haredi-owned Jerusalem restaurant will be restricting the working hours of waitresses in order to receive the strict mehadrin kashrut certificate.
The veteran eatery, Heimische Essen, in Rehavia, will cease employing waitresses on Thursday nights, a favorite time for yeshiva boys to patronize the eatery.
Waitresses at the restaurant, which serves Eastern European specialties to a variety of people, are modestly dressed, although some of them are not Orthodox.
According to the owner, Haim Safrin, zealots, “who are jealous of the place’s success,” pressured the kashrut supervisors of the strict Agudat Israel high religious court, known as the Badatz, to stop waitresses from working on Thursday nights.
The Badatz is a private body which grants kashrut certificates and supervision over and above that provided by the Chief Rabbinate. The demand for waitress-free Thursday nights is unusual, but it is not unusual for bodies granting kashrut certificates, including the state-run Chief Rabbinate, to withdraw or threaten to withdraw a certificate for reasons that have nothing directly to do with food, such as the religious or spiritual affiliation of the owners or event halls that hold weddings for gay couples.
Be Free Israel, a group that advocates religious freedom and pluralism, called for a boycott of the restaurant, and says it plans to demonstrate in front of it tomorrow night.