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Lamrot Hakol (Despite Everything)

Musings and kvetchings and Torah thoughts from an unconventional Orthodox Jew.

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"I blog, therefore I am". Clearly not true, or I wouldn't exist except every now and then.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Gratuitous fanaticism

Everyone who has ever been to Little Israel in Chicago (that'd be Devon Avenue in West Rogers Park) has seen the sign for Moshe's Kosher Foods (or whatever it's currently called).

It's a big trapezoidal sign that says "Queen Esther" and "Sinai" and "Kosher" and I don't remember what else. When I was in high school, I remember people referring to it as "999", for whatever reason.

Anyway, I was in the store last year, and I overheard a discussion going on between one frum guy from the neighborhood and Moshe (also frum), the owner of the store. Apparently, there was some pressure on Moshe to get rid of the sign. Why? Because Best Kosher, which also puts out meats under the label "Sinai 48", is not considered to be kosher enough in these parts.

I've heard various reasons given for this. It's not glatt. It's now owned by Sara Lee, so it's not under Jewish ownership any more (although I'm pretty sure the Chicago Rabbinical Council (CRC) had come out against Best Kosher even before Sara Lee bought it).

Whatever the deal is, some frum Jews consider Best/Sinai 48 to be acceptably kosher, and others consider it to be "not up to community norms".

Now, if you recall, I mentioned that the sign outside of Moshe's says "Sinai" on it. Not "Sinai 48", mind you, but "Sinai". But there was some concern that people might confuse the two when it comes to kosher food, and think either that Moshe's carried the evil Best products or thatBest products were okay.

I chimed in at the time and told Moshe that he couldn't take the sign down. It's a landmark, I mean. And he laughed and said that he had no plans to ever take the sign down.

Well. The sign isn't down. But I was driving past it the other day, and the bottom half of the sign (where the troubling label "Sinai" was located) is now covered with red tackboard of some kind. And the Chumra of the Week Club wins another point.

Wouldn't it be cool if they were as machmir on rechilut and ona'at devarim and other mitzvot ben adam l'chaveiro as they are on kashrut?


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