Religion Magazine

Kashrut Alert: Aroma Mamilla Loses Hechsher

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
Kikar reporter Ariel Elharar reported on Twitter that workers of the Aroma Cafe in Mamilla Mall (outside of the Old City of Jerusalem) were seen, by Haredim returning form the Kotel, going in to Aroma and beginning to bake. this Aroma is/was under the hechsher of the Rabbanut Mehadrin (of Jerusalem) and the Badatz of Chug Chasam Sofer.

חילול שבת.
מסעדת 'ארומה' סניף ממילא מהדרין שהינה בכשרות בד"ץ חתם סופר ורבנות מהדרין ירושלים חיללה שבת ועובדיה נכנסו לפני צאת השבת לאפות, חרדים שעברו במקום בחזרה מהכותל מחו בפני העובדים, שימו לב.

— אריאל אלחרר (@ariel_elharar_) June 19, 2021

A sort while later Elharar tweeted again that the hechsher of Chug Chasam Sofer has been removed due to the opening of the shop on Shabbos, and they take no responsibility over the kashrut of the place until they clarify what happened.

בעקבות הציוץ בד"ץ חוג חתם סופר הסיר את ההשגחה מארומה סניף ממילא, ידע הציבור ויזהר.

— אריאל אלחרר (@ariel_elharar_) June 19, 2021

Interestingly, the first tweet reporting the infraction is accompanied by a picture. So the Haredim returning from the Kotel before Shabbos was over reporting the violation of the Aroma employees took a picture of the incident? they were carrying phones with them? they asked someone else to take a picture and send it to them? I am not quite sure how this picture was obtained, though except for the lights being on I dont really see anything special in it anyway so maybe it is just a poor quality archived picture of Aroma Mamilla? I am a little confused by this.
In general, I have no problem with them losing the hechsher over a serious violation of the rules. The hechshers all have rules, and if you can't keep to the rules, get a different hechsher whose rules you can keep. In this case, what bothers me slightly is that they add "until the matter is clarified". If they have not looked into it yet, why pull the hehchsher? Anybody can call in anything to a hechsher about a restaurant under its supervision and make an unverified claim and get the hechsher pulled until it is clarified? Anybody who does not like a restaurant, or is a competitor, can go file false reports and destroy a business. Restaurants often do not recover form such incidents that hurt their reputation of trustworthiness, even if later it is found to be not accurate. In this instance, maybe Shabbos was really already out according to the earlier time but these passerby thought it was still Shabbos based on their stricter time. Maybe they were not baking but only cleaning up? I don't know what other possibilities could be the truth, but should a hechsher automatically be pulled "until it is clarified"? Maybe clarify first?
Another question I have is that according to the original tweet, the Aroma branch is under the hechshers of the Rabbanut Mehadrin and Chasam Sofer. That is not standard Rabbanut but Mehadrin - if this is really a Shabbos infraction, why did the Rabbanut Mehadrin also not remove its hechsher?
I am not sure we have the full story here.
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