No Waitresses if you Want Badatz to Certify your Kashrut

A restaurant in the Rehavia neighborhood of Jerusalem, Heimishe Esin ( ‘היימישע עסין’ ), was told that it could not hire waitresses on Thursday night if it wanted a Badatz kashrut certificate.  So he removed women from those shifts. Thursday is one of the busiest nights so it also means that women are excluded from a night where table tabs are high, customers frequent, and significant tips accumulate in the kitty.

Rehavia is a mixed religious neighborhood in the center of Jerusalem. It includes secular and religious Jews from many different streams of Judaism. The restaurant which serves classic Ashkenai home style meals attracts a lot of students from a nearby yeshiva but it also serves local secular and non-Haredi residents and has a large secular high school across the street.

A Badatz certificate increases the marketability of a restaurants food, especially in neighborhoods near Haredi insitutitions. The extra economic edge means that Bedatz can use economic incentives to encourage practices that are prejudicial against women employees.

Source: רוצים הכשר בדץ? אל תעסיקו מלצריות בחמישי, MyNet, 2012-03-08

Correction: The picture originally with this post incorrectly showed Badatz Edat Haredit.  The kashrut organization responsible is Badatz Agudat Israel.  The picture has been corrected.  Thank-you to commenter Daniel below for noting the oversight.

Categories: Extremism, Gender Segregation | Tags: , , | 19 Comments

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19 thoughts on “No Waitresses if you Want Badatz to Certify your Kashrut

  1. Daniel

    I don’t have any first-hand knowledge about the case, and I’m no big fan of the Edah Charedit, but according to the source article it is the Badatz of Agudas Yisrael which is doing this and not the Badatz of the Edah Charedit whose symbol is shown above.

    • Beth Frank-Backman

      Thank-you for noting the oversight. The article’s picture has been corrected.

  2. Gilan

    I’m pretty sure it is illegal to deny female employees the Thursday shift (with its highest tips) because they are female.

  3. Andrea

    Of course, I live in the US but we keep seeing the gov’t of Israel allowing prejudicial actions against women. Israel may be better on women’s rights than its neighbors but it is still wrong in many actions. Buses, Women of the Wall, singing by female soldiers, actions like the one above

    • Beth Frank-Backman

      Just to clarify. This isn’t the government of Israel. This is a private restaurant. It isn’t even clear that it is legal. One of the local NGOs is currently investigating the legality of it.

      These people are the Isreali equivalent of Tea Party and Personhood amendment advocates in the USA. Israelis do stand up and fight them – you can see that by looking at the articles in this blog: click on words like “Demonstration”, “Boycott”, “Condemnation”, and so forth in the tag cloud on the sidebar to the right.

      • emtzalex

        Yes, but in the United States, there are employment (and public accommodation) discrimination laws that prohibit private discrimination. I do not know if such laws exist in Israel, but in the United States, the female serves discriminated against (by being prevent from working on Thursday) because of their sex would be able to file a complaint and even a lawsuit against the employer.

      • Beth Frank-Backman

        Israeli also has labor laws, public accomodation laws, etc. Employees can file suit here as well. From what I’ve been told today, these women do indeed have grounds for a law suit.

      • Moshe

        Just to clarify, Beth – under the “Basic Law” entitled “Freedom of Employment” discrimination in employment based upon sex/gender is illegal in Israel. Your little hoochie – coochie dance of “it’s not the government anyway, it’s a private restaurant” might have been relevant in the US in 1955, but, in case you haven’t noticed, times have changed, the world over, since Martin Luther King Jr. Oh, and btw – since private establishments which serve the public are under government regulation (business license, health, taxes, seating capacity) the government has standing to close the restaurant.

        This has nothing to do with the Tea Party – you are just blowing smoke in people’s eyes.

  4. Zack

    Reading the article, there was no mention of how or from who this information was acquired. If it’s true, it is obviously unacceptable on various levels and for different reasons. However, I think it’s much easier to buy such a story simply because it fits in with the recent media frenzy against certain extreme haredim, than to read it critically and questions its reliability.

    • Beth Frank-Backman

      There is a link in the story, albeit in Hebrew. According to the reporter who wrote that article, the restaurant was asked for comment and they refused. If the story is not true, it is the restaurants responsibility to respond to reporter inquiries.

  5. Russel Molot

    Quite frankly, the restaurant should be boycotted for giving in to that stupidity.

  6. ChayaV

    I think that the issue of whether Edah Hareidit would even give a teudah to them should be added to this article. They are extremely particular about who may or may not get one – for example, an ice cream store won’t get one because they think it’s not suitable.

  7. Trish

    I work in a large corporate office here in Israel and have a great deal of contact with our HR manager during recruitment, hiring, disciplinary actions, terminations etc. Israeli labor law is much more favorable to workers than the labor laws of California, which themselves are quite liberal. Workers’ rights are strongly protected here.

    The lawsuit that this discriminatory action will engender will probably put the stupid restaurant out of business.

    Another good reason to eat Rabbinute Jerusalem and get away from this obsession with Badatz and it’s nutso adherents….besides, the teudah is that the food is kosher, not the wait staff…..

  8. Moshe

    I retract my previous post. I didn’t realize that it was the Badatz which was being compared to the Tea Party, or that it was the restaurant which was in for criticism. My mistake.

  9. this story needs proper verification! from my very surface level investigation (I called them this evening), there are a lot of holes in the story. Not saying it’s false, but there is very good reason to to make assumptions or cause this restaurant to lose business unless there is further reliable information.

    • Gilan

      I, for one, would be interested to hear what holes are in the story. Reporters in this country (and most countries I know of) don’t exactly have a stellar reputation.

      • Beth Frank-Backman

        There is certainly plenty of sloppy and muddled reporting in this country, but in this case the story seems fairly well done. The original Hebrew report article appears to have followed fairly standard reporting conventions – interviewing the affected female employees, turning to the owner for comment, sticking to the facts of the case. Even nemsling couldn’t get a clear rebuttle though he says he called them. I’d also be interested in what he means by “hole”.

  10. Pingback: Rabbis in Israel force restaurant without mechitzas to close

  11. John Rosen

    Why does a restaurant in Rechavia need a Heksher from the Eidah HaHaredis ?
    They can get a Rabbanut Mehadrin, Belz, Aguda, Hatam Sofer or any other Kashrut.

    The Eidah lives breaths and and flourishes in another world in Meah Shearim.
    If the restaurant owners want an Eidah Heksher I guess they have to wear on an Eidah robe.

    Our local Har Nof Pizza had to close up at 22:30 every night because the Eidah didn’t want it to become a hangout for kids.. most of the local parents heartily agreed ..

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