Chabad Rabbi Skirts Local Kashrut Council, Sparking Anger
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
When Chabad Rabbi Mendel Jacobs took over the kosher Hello Deli in Glasgow, Scotland last month, he announced new kosher supervision as well as new ownership – himself and his wife Tzirl.
The problem, at least as far as Glasgow’s organized Jewish community is concerned, is that Jacobs is not the city’s official kosher supervision agency – West of Scotland Kashrus Commission (WSKC) is.
The WSKC’s head, Rabbi Moshe Rubin, told the Jewish Chronicle that self-supervision is, in effect, worthless.
“Self-supervision is not supervision,” Rubin said. “Supervision means you have an external, independent person who does it. We are hoping he will come round to our way of thinking and join the community structure.…One person breaking away from that community has consequences down the line. If everyone does what they want with kashrut, where do you draw the line?”
Jacob’s deli sells fresh meat along with prepared foods.
The owner of another local kosher deli, Mark Cohen, told The JC he was “delighted” with the kosher supervision he gets from the WSKC.
“They are very helpful. They go out of their way to make it economical,” Cohen reportedly said. “There are a lot of people who come to Scotland as tourists or for business, so if they see a hechsher [kosher certificate] that we are supervised by the commission in Glasgow, it’s reassuring for them.”
Jacobs declined to comment for The JC’s report.
While Jewish law allows for self-supervision – with some caveats – it normally would not do so if local rabbinic authorities disapprove.