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Monday, February 28, 2011

J Street is treif

Attendees at the J Street conference in Washington report that it is literally not Kosher (Hat Tip: My Right Word).
Of course, plenty of Jewish organizations serve non-kosher food at their events, and that’s fine. Given that the vast majority of Jews don’t keep strict, certified kosher, there’s no reason to foot that bill. But almost all Jewish organizations, and certainly all major ones, make the effort to provide kosher options for those Jews who do require a hekhsher. At the very least, they would offer kosher food for purchase.

Not so with J Street.

When I arrived at the conference this morning, before 8 a.m., I asked a staff person if the breakfast would include kosher options. She told me it would. But when the food arrived, there was nothing kosher to be found–not even fruit. I sufficed with coffee and decided to wait for lunch, when–with an hour of free time–I could rush on the metro to a kosher restaurant.

When that time came, I got ready to hurry out of the conference room only to be told by multiple J Street staffers that there were sandwiches for purchase across the building and yes, some of them were kosher.

You can guess what happened next. I arrived at the sandwich cart and requested the kosher option. I got a blank stare in return, and when I asked the manager she told me she had no idea what I was talking about. She hadn’t heard anything about kosher sandwiches. The best they could do, they said, was a regular turkey sandwich with the cheese taken off. No good. I bought a Clif bar, a Nature Valley, a Kit Kat, an apple and a banana. I filled the feast out with some mini Twix I found at a conference table.

Maybe I’m making too much of this, but I think that an intentionally Jewish organization that bases its platform on Jewish values should make more of an effort to respect a basic traditional Jewish practice. This is especially true for J Street, which emphasizes pluralism and acceptance. I think it’s great for an organization to encourage myriad political ideologies, but there needs to be space for a multiplicity of religious observances as well. And on perhaps the most practical level, I have trouble thinking about the nuances of US Middle East policy when I haven’t eaten all day.
Maybe if William Daroff is there, he can take everyone on a trip to Eli's (if you follow his Twitter feed, you know exactly what I mean). But why does it not surprise me that J Street would run a conference that is 100% Glatt treif?

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At 4:00 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Yup... its a turn-off to Orthodox Jews. J-Street's leftist and secular audience may not care much for Jewish tradition but that's exactly the point.

You can't say you support Israel when you fail to support Jewish values and observance at home.

And in the long run, no matter how much money J-Street gets from George Soros' deep pockets, its destined for complete irrelevance.

At 12:19 AM, Blogger ais cotten19 said...

You'd be surprised at how many Jews really hate the Orthodox. Discuss Chabad with a Conservative or Reform Jew, and chances are they'll give you some horror story, or give you an example of someone they claim is a horrible Jew.

I'm not Orthodox, but I think this behaviour is shameful.

At 4:40 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

100% right. These people are today's Kapos. That also includes scum like Richard Silverstein and Philp Weiss to name a few.


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