The Danger of Tav Hayosher

September 2, 2012 4:22 pm 52 comments

Kosher burger in a restaurant. Photo: Loopstation.

Several weeks ago, I was introduced to Rabbi Ari Weiss, the executive director of Uri L’tzedek, the organization that launched the now-controversial Tav Hayosher “ethical seal” for restaurants.  Rabbi Weiss met with me to discuss the background of the Tav Hayosher seal, hear my perspectives on the matter, and possibly form some sort of allegiance with me, given my experience representing food service workers throughout the country. I was truly impressed with Rabbi Weiss’ gentle demeanor and apparent well-meaning.  However, I believe that the Tav Hayosher ethical seal is a dangerous idea that should be stopped.

The Tav purports to restaurant owners that the Tav will benefit their businesses in several ways. First it will improve their employer/employee relations by increasing compliance with labor laws. Also, the Tav intends to create its own reward and punishment system: Kosher restaurant/catering patrons will be encouraged to patronize establishments carrying the Tav and to avoid non-Tav carrying establishments.

What the Tav may not explain to restaurant owners is that the Tav can significantly hurt any business that interacts with it.   Entering a restaurant’s premises, interviewing its employees, and policing the treatment of its employees is only one short step away from inciting employment litigation against the restaurant.   Based on my experience with countless aggrieved restaurant workers, I would not be surprised if the Tav’s antics quickly result in litigation against the restaurants it inspects.

In addition, we all know that the Jewish laws are complicated and that there are varying levels of kosher observance.  In my opinion, the Tav deceptively insinuates that carrying the Tav adds some added level of halachic permissibility to the food it serves, a misconception that could easily deceive a kosher restaurant owner less knowledgeable in the laws of kashrut.

I am a staunch advocate for the restaurant workers’ rights, including wage/hour and anti-discrimination rights.   The laws can sometimes be complicated.  If you are a restaurant owner reading this, go hire an employment lawyer and make sure you are keeping the laws, because (a) that is the right thing to do according to the Torah, and (b) the liability for failure to keep these laws can be enormous if a lawsuit is filed.   As Jews, we have an even higher duty to treat our employees ethically and to sanctify G-d’s name in our business practices.

Restaurant Owner, if you adhere to the federal and state labor laws, you will be doing the right thing and you will avoid liability.  But please realize that the Tav is not your friend.  They cannot give you legal advice, they cannot defend you if you are sued, and their ethical seal will not help you at all in that scenario—there is a U.S. legal system replete with lawyers, judges, and administrative agencies that handle the administration of the federal and state laws governing employment.  Neither does the Tav make your restaurant more kosher. What the Tav can do is incite your workers to take action against you, including boycotts and lawsuits.  If the Tav attains the power it seeks, it will be able to ruin you by removing the seal if it decides your practices are not up to snuff. Given that the Tav is a self-regulated organization, this decision will be up to the Tav, based solely on it’s own assessment of what is right and wrong.  Do you really want to give this unfettered power to a group that can do this to you?

This is a critical time to stop the Tav Hayosher from gaining too much uncontrollable power.  Do not allow them onto your premises. If you carry the seal, take it down and tell the Tav that you did so.  Tell your friends that own restaurants to do the same.  You owe it to yourself and to your community of kosher restaurants.  Leave the kosher laws to the kashrut organizations and the labor laws to the institutions with the power to enforce them.  Finally, if you have not already done so, hire a lawyer and comply with the laws.  Set a good example, and prove to the public why the Jews are referred to as a “Light onto the nations.”

Maimon Kirschenbaum is an attorney at Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP , where he represents employees facing wage and hour violations, sexual harassment, and workplace discriminations. His work has focused in particular on helping employees in the restaurant industry recover unpaid wages.

52 Comments

  • Visit eyeonthetav.com for more information and updates about the unethical practices of the Tav Hayashor.

  • So if restaurants actually start adhering to Tav standards, better known as the law according to the city/state, there will be less workers for Maimon Kirschenbaum to get together to sue restaurants ergo bankrupting his practice. I wonder why he’s against it.

  • Thank G-D.
    The cat is out of the bag.

    We finally have an admission from one the officers at Uri L’tzedek/Tav Hayoshor that a company/restaurant that does not meet THEIR approval is fertile grounds for a boycott!

  • Correction:

    The TAV was not against Rubashkin…..they just joined the boycott.

    http://zackarysholemberger.blogspot.com/search/label/Uri%20L%27Tzedek

    Whom are they kidding?

  • For the record…… I just found this on line.

    —————————-

    Showing posts with label Uri L’Tzedek. Show all posts
    8/31/08
    The Politics of Kashrut: Kosher Food Boycotts then and now

    An event at Town and Village Synagogue. No word yet whether the refreshments will be fleischig.

    Join JFREJ, the AJWS-AVODAH Partnership, and Uri L’Tzedek for a salon-style, interactive program: learn about the complex intersections of immigrant rights, labor rights, and Jewish law – from the Lower East Side’s kosher meat boycott of 1903 to the AgriProcessors boycott of 2008.

    Featuring Professor Hasia Diner, NYU, and Organizers from the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Uri L’Tzedek, and Hekhsher Tzedek. Presented through Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) and American Jewish World Service and AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps.

    This event is co-sponsored by Hazon, the Workmen’s Circle / Arbeter Ring, and Jewish Labor Committee/United Hebrew Trades. For more information or to RSVP click here or call 212-647-8966 ext 10.

    Posted by שלום בערגער Zackary Berger at 7:02 AM 5 comments Links to this post
    Labels: Agriprocessors/Rubashkin’s/Aaron’s Best, hekhsher tsedek, Town and Village Synagogue, Uri L’Tzedek

  • The TAV was no against Rubashkin…..

    http://zackarysholemberger.blogspot.com/search/label/Uri%20L%27Tzedek

    Whom are they kidding?

  • Mr. Sayani,

    Please enlighten us all as to what occurred at Flaums. Is there ant truth in the rumor that TAV joined forces with the Unions to fight the owners?

    Daniel.

    • Flaum’s is in violation of countless halakhot and federal, state, and local laws, and it is therefore our duty to boycott their products. The Boston Beit Din paskened in the 1980s that due to the issur of oshek, food items produced involving unfair labor practices should be boycotted.

      • Thank G-D.
        The cat is out of the bag.

        We finally have an admission from one the officers at Uri L’tzedek/Tav Hayoshor.

        A company/restaurant that does not meet THEIR approval is fertile grounds for a boycott!

        Owners/proprietors beware!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Thank G-D.
        The cat is out of the bag.

        We finally have an admission from one of the officers at Uri L’tzedek/Tav Hayoshor that a company/restaurant that does not meet THEIR approval is fertile grounds for a boycott!

  • Tav claims to be ethical. Their mantra is ‘honesty’.
    Yet their site lists numerous establishments that carry their seal that are simply not true.
    http://www.utzedek.org/tavhayosher/restaurant-listmap.html
    I quickly checked on a few. Some never heard of Tav. Others were approached by Tav but the owners refused. Yet, their name appears on the Tav site.
    The list is partly fiction. More of a wish list.
    For example: Kosh in Stamford CT.
    Least they claim a ‘typo’ – I called them numerous times to correct the list to no avail.

  • Tav claims to be ethical. Their mantra is ‘honesty’.

    Yet their site lists numerous establishments that carry their seal that are simply not true.

    http://www.utzedek.org/tavhayosher/restaurant-listmap.html

    I quickly checked on a few. Some never heard of Tav. Others were approached by Tav but the owners refused. Yet, their name appears on the Tav site.

    The list is partly fiction. More of a wish list.

    For example: Kosh in Stamford CT.

    Least they claim a ‘typo’ – I called them numerous times to correct the list to no avail.

  • doesn't make sense

    i don’t understand. Isn’t the Tav HaYosher just promoting restaurants to follow the law? why is that bad? is this writer from chabad? I heard that chabad has been leading a strange/mean smear campaign against this group

    • Chabad absolutely is leading a smear campaign against Uri L’Tzedek. Rubashkin violated numerous legal and halakhic precepts, and because we protest this, they are naturally upset that they’re being exposed.

      It wouldn’t surprise me if Chabad slandered and smeared the constituent members of the International Rabbinic Fellowship, by pulling unethical and anti-halakhic tactics such as rejecting converts and whatnot. Chabad has been known to seek to destroy the institutions of Modern Orthodox life and reap the benefits.

  • At first I was excited to see that this author seemed to care about justice. But then realized it was all lies and hatred. This article is very sad and wrong. Maimon needs a class in jewish ethics to re-examine his moral compass. He is merely promoting himself and avoiding the needs of the exploited. He helps to destroy the Jewish people and the values of the Torah with his words.Hashem yerachaim.

  • Upset and Let Down

    Tav Hayosher is conceptually a great idea. Both Halacha and overarching Jewish values demand that we behave legally and ethically, and we treat others, especially employees, with rights and dignity.

    The problem with Tav is that they purposefully put themselves “michutz lamachaneh”. Not only do they assume a totally elitist posture viz a viz the chareidi world, but their perspective ends up making them intellectually dishonest.

    The principals of Tav had made some extremely inappropriate comments about the Rubashkin case early on, and have since been dishonest about it. They have repeatedly said that Tav never came out against Rubashkin, and this is technically true. As a non profit with a specific goal, it would have been inappropriate for Tav to take any position on Rubashkin, pro or con. However, some of Tav founders, as individuals, were part of the lynch mob that contributed to Rubashkin’s current situation. Intellectual integrity would mandate that Tav’s denial about their role in this matter would contain this information.

    People have approached the Tav leadership asking them to come out in support of Rubashkin, because Rubashkin deserves fair treatment no less than anybody else. They have refused, and instead they make wishy-washy statements about how everybody deserves a fair trial. Even when it was pointed out to them that doing the right thing and supporting Rubashkin would help the Tav cause, they still refuse.

    I believe the Tav people are fundamentally good people and want to do the right thing. Their hearts are in the right place, and they truly are committed to Torah and Klal Yisroel. But until they are ready to confront their own elitism, I am afraid they are doomed to failure.

    The basic question remains: Why does the Tav leadership refuse to come out forcefully and unambiguously in support of Rubashkin? Do they believe Rubashkin was treated fairly and justly, or they believe the result of the trial was a distortion of justice and fundamentally unfair?

    As someone who is a strong believer in both ethics and morality in business, and in justice for Sholom Rubashkin, I must say to Tav: You have let all of us down on both counts.

  • I for one will not patronize any establishment displaying the Tav seal. Remember, these are the guys who hung Rubashkin out to dry.

  • op-ed should be in the new york times

    mr kirshenbaum was very selfless here to say the least, i am quite surprised that a lawyer would write something like this and risk the counter attack from organizations such as uri letzedek.

    I just dont understand why this truth can only be found on this site and not all over at least jewish media.

  • oversight on wall st not on main st!

    im somewhat involved in the restaurant business, the jewish restaurants are not any worse then anyone else in this business when it comes to employee treatment, they are actually better so who needs this non sense?

    dont we have rules and laws in this country that are enforced by lawyers etc.? who needs this extra oversight when it aint broke? we need oversight on wall street not on main street mr soros! :)

    this is a ploy by a liberal reform movement portraying themselves as frumeh yidden.

  • if you see a tav poster walk out.

    The name uri letzedek gives it away, who are you to call yourself uri letzedek? you guys are going to “awake” yidden really? are there rabbonim promoting your “awakening”?

    sounds like a liberal non torah like agenda being pushed here.

    • Actually their are many Haskamas including Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. Let’s hear what he has to say about the organization:

      “Through its work, Uri L’Tzedek is being God’s ‘partner in creation’. They realise that part of our role as Jews is to make a difference, to mend the fractures of the world, a day at a time, an act at a time, for as long as it takes to make it a place of justice and compassion where the lonely are not alone, the poor not without help; where the cry of the vulnerable is heeded and those who are wronged are heard. When this happens, the Jewish spirit is at its best, and we are able to bring a little fragment of heaven down here on earth.”

  • The Tav is far Yashar. It’s founders declared a boycott against Rubashkin without ever seeing the plant or work conditions. The allied themselves with the union, liberal rabbis who do not keep kosher and St Brigets Church in Pottsville. Halacha is clear you cannot judge an issue unless you have seen both sides. The relied on biased accusations.

    Now the seek to impose their vision of ethics on kosher restaurants. And if not they are considering suing in secular court. Another violation of Halacha. (you can only sue after attempting to go to bet din and receiving permission from bet din) it’s clear the tav is far from ethical

  • YOU HAVE TO BE KOSHER TO WATCH KASHRUT,
    in all facets of life.
    I DONT CONSIDER AVI WEISS KOSHER.

    Its actually:
    kosher according to wiess.
    NOT TORAH AND TRADITION

    • Rabbi Avi Weiss is an Orthodox rabbi, ordained at RIETS. He sits on the Vaad haRabbonim of Riverdale and kashrut is perfectly upheld at all institutions with which he is affiliated, including the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale.

    • Excuse me. Neither Uri L’Tzedek nor the Tav HaYosher have any official affiliation with Avi Weiss or Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. If you took a look at their Haskamas you would fine universally accepted Rabbeim who applaud what the Tav does. Also if you actually knew what the Tav did and what Halach dictates you would not be saying this.
      If you think that the basic standards are made up, you should do some more chozara on Bava Metzia. If you want a chevrusa I’m currently learning at YU, and I would love to learn with you as we are learning Bava Metzia this zman.
      Last time I check Gemora was a pretty good source of Torah and Tradition.

  • Tav ha Yosher is dangerous for restaurants the same way a Teudat Kashrus is. This is just the less worst way to achieve something (which usually doesn’t happen, not for the yosher, and not for the kashrus)

  • Hilarious! Maimon K is writing about being DANGEROUS to RESTAURANTS?!?! He’s the worst thing to happen to restaurants in 50 years!

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/the_lawyer_who_ate_new_york_SO9DZBVJ4hxnr7jY8rDb2J

    • if he wouldnt do it others will, and you would rather him do it and not others. he happens to be a very fair guy. the point though is as he knows whats going on best in this business and if he writes this it carries a lot of weight.

      the most important thing is what he is actually saying, and what he wrote here was factual, and makes perfect sense.

  • The author clearly misunderstands the full scope and purpose of the Tav haYosher. It is rooted in the notion that punctiliousness in the observance of mitzvot bein adam l’makom must be matched by punctiliousness in the observance of mitzvot bein adam l’chaveiro. Particularly in the realm of kashrut, scrupulous adherence to the halakhot of Yoreh Deah must be matched by scrupulous adherence to the halakhot of Choshen Mishpat, lest we risk appearing as if our religious priorities are unbalanced or misguided, chas v’chalilah. This was a concern of none other than Rabbi Joseph Breuer, zt”l, head of the KAJ community, who in 1950, penned his famous essay, “Glatt Kosher, Glatt Yosher.” In it, R’ Breuer writes that “Kosher is intimately related to yosher (correct ethical practice).” God not only requires that we sanctify our physical selves; God demands that we sanctify our social relationships.” Rather than merely ensuring compliance with ethical and halakhic commercial and labor standards, the Tav haYosher seeks to bring the message of Rav Breuer to the Orthodox community at large, initiate conversation on these issues, and ultimately, affect change in our communal culture to a paradigm where these religious values, truths, and halakhic principles pertaining to ethical employment become part of the everyday Torah discourse.

    Mr. Maimon prognosticates a flood of employee-initiated litigation against restaurant owners, basing this claim on his belief that allowing Tav haYosher compliance officers entrance to restaurants is akin to proverbially “letting the fox in the hen house.” Yet, in the nearly three years since the Tav has been operational, there simply has not been such a ballyhooed litigation against restaurant owners. Nor has there been such a flood of litigation in Israel, where social justice organization B’Maaglei Tzedek has certified 350 establishments through its Tav Chevrati. Furthermore, restaurant owners agreeing to abide by standards favorable to workers would be shielding themselves against litigation. Nurturing a work environment where mutual respect, equity, and a cooperative spirit of engagement between employee and employer prevail yields better economic outcomes and improved customer satisfaction, which are needed in an industry as volatile and unpredictable as the kosher restaurant business.

    Mr. Maimon fundamentally agrees with us that it is necessary for Jews to be ethical and law-abiding. Yet his doomsday rhetoric is fundamentally incorrect. Tav haYosher compliance officers and Uri L’Tzedek engage in this work l’shem shamayim. There is no material benefit for those of us who are passionate about this work and who seek to have a positive impact on the lives of the marginalized. Never have we, and never would we, “destroy” those who choose not to abide by Tav standards, which are not capricious, as Mr. Maimon would like you to believe, but rather, are rooted in objective halakhic and legal sources. These standards are transparent and available to review by anyone who so desires.

    Furthermore, he obfuscates the purpose of the Tav. Never have we claimed that the Tav makes an establishment “kosher l’mehadrin.” Establishments with the Tav must be under proper hashgacha as a prerequisite to obtaining the Tav. Compliance officers have nothing to do whatsoever with the kashrut of these establishments. We leave that, as proper, to the certifying agencies, whether they be the Vaad of New England, Rabbi Israel Mayer Steinberg, or the Orthodox Union, among others. The halakhic legitimacy attested to by the Tav is purely within the realm of Choshen Mishpat and does not extend to ritual standards, and never have we claimed that the Tav makes an establishment “kosher l’mehadrin.”

    With the Yamim Noraim approaching, it is especially saddening that Mr. Maimon would choose to engage in a smear campaign against his fellow Orthodox Jews. I encourage everyone to learn more about the Tav haYosher by visiting Uri L’Tzedek’s website and by then deciding on its merits for yourself.

    Ketiva v’Chatima Tova,

    Daniel Sayani
    Kavod haPoel Leadership Team Member

    • border line baal toisif, the Torah tells us how to behave, why not promote learning more torah or more chassidus and mussar?

      • you mention:

        “Mr. Maimon prognosticates a flood of employee-initiated litigation against restaurant owners,”

        he works in this business he should know better no? im a business owner and i can tell you that what he said makes sense, what experience do you have?

        • daniel you further mention:

          “an industry as volatile and unpredictable as the kosher restaurant business”

          where do u get this from? i havent seen this at all.

      • None of this is a chidush, and it is sad if you think such. This is all brought down in Gemora and Shulchan Aruch, what is there to argue?
        Just like nowadays we can’t trust someone to keep their restaurant kosher, therefore we need a Moshgiach their, so to we can’t trust one to treat their workers according to Halacha. The Tav simply grants a Moshgiach to over see what should already be done within a Yiras Shomeim environment.
        So are you questioning the Halacha, or perhaps according to your logic there is no need for moshgiachs all together, as long as the employer has Yiras Shomeim?

    • then you write:

      “Mr. Maimon fundamentally agrees with us that it is necessary for Jews to be ethical and law-abiding”

      i cant believe that mr maimon believes that, and definitely not from the article i read.

    • “Never have we, and never would we, “destroy” those who choose not to abide by Tav standards”

      please explain what r weiss’s involvement was in the rubashkin case.

    • you write:

      “but rather, are rooted in objective halakhic and legal sources. These standards are transparent and available to review by anyone who so desires.”

      of course its true we read it every day in davening in several places, these are obvious things, why dont we have the OK the OU the STAR K or other main stream rabbonim enforce this?

    • “he obfuscates the purpose of the Tav. Never have we claimed that the Tav makes an establishment “kosher l’mehadrin.””

      i understood him to be saying that ppl may be confused by that nothing else, and it makes perfect sense.

    • here you write something which disturbs me more:

      “Compliance officers have nothing to do whatsoever with the kashrut of these establishments. We leave that, as proper, to the certifying agencies, whether they be the Vaad of New England, Rabbi Israel Mayer Steinberg, or the Orthodox Union, among others.”

      i realize that you mention here Rabbi Israel Mayer Steinberg and the Vaad of New England and seemed to be pushed to write the orthodox union, do you mean rabbi Steinberg and the vaad of new england is more of a certifying agency then the orthodox union?

      lets say my assumption is wrong, but why was the OK or STAR K which are main stream in the kosher world not mentioned at all but the vaad of NE (i have yet to see the kashrut stamp of this organization) and Rabbi Steinberg were?

      you seem to be implying that you guys do have a say about who is a certifying agency and who is not, this is a big problem and i cant see your work as lshem shamayim when i see you have an agenda.

    • daniel you write:

      “Never have we, and never would we, “destroy” those who choose not to abide by Tav standards”

      I just spent 2 hours on the uri letzedek website, i see pictures of our own jewish kids going around with signs saying to ban flaum products (which i assume is the flaum kosher fish and appetizer producer), is that not destroying another person’s livelihood?

      Is this the way Choshen Mishpat tells us to behave?

      I cant see how something like this can be done without going to Beis Din first.

    • daniel you write:

      “Tav haYosher compliance officers and Uri L’Tzedek engage in this work l’shem shamayim”"

      im sure this is true, the point is very well meaning but should be directed in a positive way not negative.

      to me this sounds like an attempt by the liberal orthodox to get in on the growing and expanding kosher food business.

  • Rabbi Joe Black

    I’m sorry, but I could not disagree more. The purpose of the Tav is several-fold:
    1. To call attention to the need for Jewish-owned businesses to act ethically
    2. To be a voice of compassion for workers.
    3. To serve as an alternative voice to the unethical practices of some Jewish-owned businesses towards their workers (Postville…..)
    4. To emphasize that following the letter of the laws of kashrut is not enough. If your dishes and food are kosher, but you do not treat your workers as though they are created B’tzelem – then you are not an ethical person.
    5. To state to the entire world that Jews need to act in an ethical manner.

    Tav certification does not carry any legal weight. It is merely a statement that the restaurant wants to act in an ethical manner. If some people chose to boycott the particular establishment – that is a reflection on their values.

    • Dear Rabbi Joe Black,

      Thank you for highlighting all these great points about the benefit of the Tav.

      I think you are missing Mr. Kirschenbaum’s main point which is; if the Tav really wants to accomplish all these goals and promote a higher ethical standard amongst Jewish businesses than currently exists, its efforts would be much better directed towards education and legal counsel. The Tav should lawyers to advise and educate business owners of their legal and ethical responsibilities, rather than set up some arbitrary standards of reward and punishment to people who are just as easily corruptible in the end of the day.

      • I think you are both misunderstanding that the Tav is purely based off of Halacha. Last time I checked Halacha cannot be changed. If you think that the basic standards do not comply with Halacha, you should do some more chozara on Bava Metzia and Hilchos Poalim. If you want a chevrusa I’m currently learning at YU, and I would love to learn with you as we are learning Bava Metzia this zman.

        • reb shlomo,

          you probably mean hilchos schirus poalim as there is no hilchos poalim in shulchan aruch, i dont think the rambam has hilchos poalim either.

          i might take you up on your offer.

          • I was referring to any stom Halachos which discuss how one may treat their workers, not just found in shulchan aruch.

    • BS”D
      R’ Black, you highlight Mr. Kirschenbaum’s point. ‘Tav’ mixed into the Postville issue, and helped to destroy a family business. From personal testimony that I’ve heard, it ruined the lives of countless workers who loved and respected the Rubashkins. The US government, who tried with all the inspiration that the scorned Unions could provide, did not prove in a court of law a single count of abuse of a single worker. that leaves the score: Tav (1), Yosher (0)
      I will not make this a campaign or anything like it, but personally I cannot bring myself to eat in a restaurant defiled with the insignia of hate which the ‘Tav’ symbol has come to represent.

      • Tav Ha’Yosher had absolutely NOTHING to do with the Rubashkin case. get your facts straight.

      • Where is the evidence that the Tav causes incitement of workers? Furthermore,I believe it is rather hypocritical of Mr. Kirschenbaum to profess concern about restaurant owners being sued when he has been very much involved in doing just that. Additionally, as he himself said, a restaurant owner who”adhere[s] to the federal and state labor laws…will be doing the right thing and…avoid liability.”

        The problem is not the Tav. The problem is that too many employers don’t know and/or don’t obey the law in regard to their employees.

        Also, the purpose of the Tav is not merely to encourage Jewish employers to treat their workers ethically. It is also supposed to raise awareness within the Orthodox community about the importance of workers’ rights as a Jewish value.

        The Tav does not make food “more kosher.” It does inform consumers that the food they are eating was produced ethically, which should be of concern to them.

        • Dear Ms. Aviva,
          Please see posting above by no less than the Leadership Team Member of the Kavod haPoel Mr. Daniel Sayani

          Flaum’s is in violation of countless halakhot and federal, state, and local laws, and it is therefore our duty to boycott their products.”

          Do you still believe in what you wrote?
          I quote your posting: “Where is the evidence that the Tav causes incitement of workers?”

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  • Israel Music Guns N’ Roses Guitarist Rocks Solo Acoustic Version of Israeli National Anthem – Hatikva (VIDEO)

    Guns N’ Roses Guitarist Rocks Solo Acoustic Version of Israeli National Anthem – Hatikva (VIDEO)

    Ok, fans, question time. What do: Guns ‘n’ Roses shred-meister guitarist, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (aka Ronald Jay Blumenthal), “Hard Rock Hotel”, “Las Vegas” and Israel’s ”Hatikva” (The Hope) national anthem… all have in common? I know, you’re probably thinking, “Hmm, ‘One of these things is not like the other,’ would fit in here,” right? Um, no, turns out. Caught backstage by blogger Darren Garnick at the swanky Vegas gig in early June, Thal, acoustic guitar in hand, fretted out a sweetly melodic [...]

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  • Arts and Culture Blogs David Letterman’s Sidekick on His ‘Dream Job,’ Jewish Upbringing

    David Letterman’s Sidekick on His ‘Dream Job,’ Jewish Upbringing

    JNS.org – A Jewish upbringing taught Paul Shaffer, David Letterman’s musical director and sidekick for 32 years, the value of giving back. After the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Shaffer served as musical director for “The Concert for New York City,” and in 2012 he accompanied Adam Sandler in “12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief,” a fundraiser for people affected by Hurricane Sandy. He was also the national spokesperson for Epilepsy Canada. “My mother taught by example,” Shaffer said in an [...]

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  • Jewish Identity Sports Coach David Blatt’s NBA Hiring Hailed as ‘Incredible’ for Jewish Community

    Coach David Blatt’s NBA Hiring Hailed as ‘Incredible’ for Jewish Community

    JNS.org – The National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Cleveland Cavaliers looked near and far during a five-week stretch for a head coach, and they finally found their man—in Israel. David Blatt, who coached Maccabi Tel Aviv to the Euroleague and Israeli league basketball championships this year, struck a deal to become the 20th coach in the history of the Cavaliers. The selection was immediately celebrated by basketball players Tamir Goodman and Mark Sack, both from the Cleveland area, and one of [...]

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