99.99% of the employees in my husband's company are frum (start right of middle and keep moving right until you fall off of the planet). Every year there is a Chanukah party for the employees with catered food at lunch. The majority of the employees come from Borough Park, Flatbush and Lakewood. The company offices are located on the border between Borough Park and Flatbush. So what's the problem? A meeting was held to decide on where the food was going to come from. And it took almost two weeks--two weeks!--for everyone to agree on a restaurant/caterer whose hechsher would be acceptable. In the end there was only one restaurant that everyone would agree on; yes, only one.
Now, I don't have the exact numbers in front of me, but Borough Park/Flatbush has dozens of restaurants/caterers, maybe even hundreds. It seems like every other day that a new restaurant opens. And yet there was only one restaurant "kosher enough" that everyone could agree to eat from?
I once made the comment that the way that Klal is heading, pretty soon we are all, each of us, going to be our own division of Yiddishkeit. Is there anything that we all agree on when it comes to Klal? Is there any area where achdus draws us together? Keeping kosher can get complicated, given all the wonders of chemistry and food additives and food production, but have we really gotten to the point where lunch requires the input of 60+ people and two weeks of arguing? Oh that this were only a one-off aberration, but it's not. Just what are we doing to ourselves?!
When you say this is your husband's company, do you mean he owns the business or its where he works? If he's the owner, with that type of squabbling, I would have simply cancelled the lunch and donated the expense to the local food bank.
Hubby is not the owner but an employee. The company is a division of a division of a multi-national company. Deciding to use the money for a different purpose isn't up to those working in this branch.
Wow. Given that it's not a jewish company, its very nice of management to work so hard to try to accomodate everyone's preference. Sounds like a great employer. I suppose the employees could suggest a donation in lieu of a holiday lunch. More and more businesses are foregoing holiday parties and making donations, although holiday gatherings can be great for morale.
I do have to wonder, however, with all of this fussiness, how do these people ever go to a simcha or eat at the home of anyone who is not a close relative.
Anonymous--if they couldn't agree on a restaurant and argued for two weeks what makes you think these same people could agree on one tzedaka to give a donation to?
About your last two questions, I've got a few cousins like this and the answer is that they don't eat at simchas or other people's houses unless it matches their requirements exactly.
Allen - Management could decide on the charity or they could give a few options to vote on. But no, given that this is a publicly-owned company, don't expect a religious charity to be the recipient. Most large corporations have some guidelines for corporate donations and some strategic giving plans.
Curious here. Which restaurant did they decide was kosher enough for everyone?
The food came from a place called China Glatt, I believe in Borough Park. We're not restaurant goers and I've never eaten there so I don't know whose supervision it is under.
Corporate headquarters is overseas. Divisional headquarters is in Pennsylvania. My hubby's branch is pretty much left to take care of itself for day to day operations and things such as this holiday party. It was the only branch in the division to show a healthy profit last year so no one is going to rock the boat.
They say that the biggest neis chanuka was that there was only one jar of oil found and it had one hechsher that the entire klal yisroel agreed on. ;-)
Just for fun I would've stood up and complained about China Glatt's kashrut. It's too easy. The water has microscopic bugs. Their vegetables are only triple bodek, and I require quadruple bodek. Rice is well-known to be infested with small mites that are the same color as the rice and impossible to distinguish from rice and hence rice is assur. I've heard the rav hamchshir had a kashrut incident 23 years ago. The mashgiach sometimes blinks for too long and it's impossible to know what happens during those longer blinks.
etc etc etc
Living proof that that old joke about 2 Jews and 5 opinions isn't a joke. On a trip to NY we ate in China Glatt. I wasn't impressed by the food at all. I guess how good the food is doesn't matter when you are arguing hechsher.
kashrus isn't simple. Maybe those who disagreed with the kashrus of the first suggested restaurant should just not have eaten instead of creating all this arguing. But you can't dismiss their reasons for disagreeing offhand.
Sometime (within the past year), someone on one of the blogs I read was explaining that it was impossible to be an observant Jew and be a farmer, because of the requirement to keep Shabbos.
Apparently our ancestors all went down to the Kosher Mart to get food.
My way is the only right way, so if you want to go to heaven, become my acolyte ASAP.
The company I work for (not all shomer shabbos) was developing a list last year of specialty restaurants on the approved list for when you had to take a client out for a meal and they have dietary restrictions. Obviously kosher restaurants were going to be on that list. So HR asked the obvious frum Jews what restaurants they would suggest and WW 37 almost broke out. We have a few people way on the right working and they could not/would not agree with any of the rest of us on even one restaurant never mind the 4 that HR wanted as a choice. The poor woman from HR had no idea just what was going on and I sure didn't want to have to explain the kashrut wars to her.
I am NOT saying kashrut should not be taken seriously but a whole lot of the arguing had nothing to do with real kashrut and more to do with group loyalty.
china glatt was the restaurant they agree on? they deserve what they get there.
i worked in a sausage factory in israel. 5 days the hashgacha was rabbanut. the 6th day a mashgiach from a badatz came. no difference whatsoever in the products or method of preparation between the 5days and the 6th day. oh yeah, there was one difference . . . the cost.
but the truth, you can't blame people for having their kashruth standards, no matter how ridiculous.
I will gladly join your sect, I would expect it would be called "We have common sense and don't want to embarass all of Judaism with our Chumras" Please let me know if there are dues.
Yes, of course we won't adhere to those chumros - we'll do it religiously, and mock everyone who doesn't do like we do. Moreover, we will make no concessions to anyone keeping a chumra, ever. If someone is wrong, we have to make sure they know it.
So did they enjoy their lunch? Did it turn out to be a happy Chanuka even if it took all that argument to get there?
As long as people are more machmir about kashrus than achdus this problem will persist.
At the lunch yesterday it was pretty much a unanimous decision that next year will be milchigs instead of fleishigs. I assume that there is less to argue about for everyone if it is dairy, although I wouldn't count on it. And no, my hubby did not enjoy the food finding it very mediocre.
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