Religion Magazine

Proposed Law: Kosher Restaurants Open on Shabbos

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
We all know that kashrut is not, in practice, just is the food technically kosher or not. The various kashrut organizations, all of them, take a variety of other factors into account when deciding whether to certify a place as kosher or not.
They take into account issues such as is the restaurant open on Shabbos, the uniform of the waiters and waitresses, does the restaurant have televisions or other forms of entertainment, how late tables can be out, location, name (think Jezebel's in New York), decor, etc. Sometimes a kashrut organizations decision is infuriating, and we wonder why their issue is relevant to kashrut, and sometimes it is more understandable and acceptable.
They all do it, and each one uses different criteria to make their decisions..
MK Elazar Stern (Hatnua) wants to change that, with a law he has proposed today. Stern has been involved in a number of laws set to disrupt the current methods in place, such as conversion, IDF draft, etc. He is really getting on the nerves of the religious parties, and this one will keep him in that same category.
MK Stern has proposed that the Rabbanut should be required to grant kashrut certification to restaurants that are open on Shabbos - as long as the food is technically kosher - certifying that on the weekdays they certify it as kosher. It should not be allowed to make the kashrut certification dependent on keeping Shabbos. Actually, all "outside" considerations would not be allowed to be used - only pure kashrut issues of the food.  Stern's proposal also states that any rav who violates this would be prone to up to 4 months in prison or a fine.
How could one rely on kashrut 6 days a week when on the 7th who knows what is going on in the kitchen? maybe they are using dairy in the meat pots when there is no mashgiach around to check, or maybe non-kosher meat, or vegetables that have not been tithed, or whatnot?
The proposal solves this problem by stating that such a restaurant wanting to be deemed kosher while staying open on Shabbos would have to keep two separate sets of dishes - one to be used during the week, certified as kosher, and the second to be used on Shabbos presuming that things are not kosher. The kosher dishes would be locked up and kept safe on Shabbos, ensuring their remaining kosher for the weekdays.
(source: Ynet)
To me it looks like a recipe for disaster. Different dishes, kosher and possibly non-kosher food, all in the same kitchen.. I also cannot imagine organizations like the Badatz Eida or Rubin or others changing their rules about how the restaurant can function for their hechsher - at best this will just obligate the Rabbanut itself.
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