Unholy Challah: Israel Court Orders Religious Board to Certify Bakery of Messianic Jew

275px-Challah_Bread_Six_Braid_1660px-flag_of_israelsvg1Israel continues to struggle with entanglement of temple and church. The latest battle occurred over the denial of a bakery, bakery, Pnina Pie, as a kashrut bakery. The denial was based on the faith of the owner, Pnina Comporati, who is a Messianic Jew. The Israeli Supreme Court ordered that Ashdod Rabbinate and the Chief Rabbinate Council to issue the certification.

Comporati, 51, was raised in a traditional Yemenite household, but sixteen years ago, she became a Messianic Jew who believes in Jesus Christ. Messianic Jews face hostility from both Christians and Jews. They believe in Jesus, whom they call Yeshua, but still follow traditional Jewish tradition such as Shabbat.

The case was a clear matter of religious discrimination.

In 2001, Comporati had not difficulty in securing certification when she opened but, when her faith became known, the certificate was revoked. The Ashdod Rabbinate engaged in blatant prejudice against her for her faith — saying that she could not be trusted to bake kosher due to her faith in Jesus and that, if she wanted certification, she would have to hire a full-time kashrut inspector, who would be present every hour the business was open and have sole possession of the keys when it was closed. Chief Rabbinate Council supported the decision as did Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz.

Justices Eliezer Rivlin, Yoram Danziger and Salim Joubran ruled that such certification cannot be denied on the basis of the faith of the owner unless the owner’s faith necessarily changed the content or preparation of the food. 180px-FD_1

The courts have continued to struggle with the tensions of intermingling of temple and state, including other recent controversies.. The problem is the governmental authority, delegated to this group under the Kashrut Law, to certify a purely religious matter. Israel is a nation divided between secular and religious parties. Even if the country insists on retaining a political system that gives small religious parties inflated power, it should embrace separation of temple and state as a principle to get the government out of these sectarian disputes. Anyone should be able to sell Kosher foods. If customers want the guidances of discriminatory groups like Ashdod Rabbinate, they can look for such certification on the door of the shop. Otherwise, most citizens might just want to enjoy the bread and go on with their lives.

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25 thoughts on “Unholy Challah: Israel Court Orders Religious Board to Certify Bakery of Messianic Jew”

  1. every religion has its whack jobs and we Jews are no exception. a few years ago some ultra-religious sect decided that hair used to make wigs that observant women wear — called shaitels — was not kosher if it came from India because the women who shaved their heads to sell the hair did so in a ceremony that worshipped plural gods. no matter that the hair was washed about a gazillion times, stripped of color and dyed before being fashioned into wigs, the women who grew the hair were pagans hence the hair was not kosher.

    my beef with messianics is that most of them are not jews of any stripe and the ones who are and then adopt christian thinking and try to make it jewish have chosen to become christians. nothing wrong with that… lots of people convert to other religions all the time. what bothers me is that these groups use jewish liturgy, symbols, customs and food, even, to christianize judaism. as if we didn’t have enough problems. this is deliberate and comes from a philosophy that says the means justify the ends and it doesn’t matter what lies are told or what deception used to get jews to accept jesus. Israel has been deporting them for years and every time they get deported they take what they’ve learned and use it to get better at faking being jews.

    so what if these people have a bakery. baking challah or a decent chocolate bobka isnt going to get anyone to believe in jesus.

  2. There is a chain donut shop near here (Ohio) that has no Jewish employees but is kosher to serve the local community, as the Jewish bakeries don’t fry breads and there’s a certain holiday that celebrates oil in cooking. After a thorough cleaning and koshering, the employees are not allowed to bring non-kosher foods in for their lunches. Easy, and enjoyed by the most strict. Except on Shabbos, of course.

  3. Mike,

    I honestly don’t remember if keeping Kosher was brought up as an example of something that was intended to keep groups isolated (the only one I remember for certain is the dietary aspect of the Brahman Caste system), but regardless of intention, the isolation was surely an effect of the system. I’d actually be surprised if their were any underlying intention for the laws as a whole.

    My guess is that it’s a simply a codified collection of social customs, that were mixed in with new laws to give the newer laws the weight of tradition. Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t almost all of (what the Christian Bible calls) Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and Numbers from the P text? Not that that proves anything, but as we’ve pointed out about the Council of Nicea, texts sometimes get edited by the religious establishment to further their goals.

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