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March 2, 2013
March 10, 2013 7:16 PM
Something you might not know...
I'm on a restaurant update email list, and here is something I got from them regarding this issue- "It seems that this story has taken a life of its own since Jezebel changed their hashagacha and name. It was picked up by all the Jewish media outlets as well as the mainstream, including The Daily News. The story seemed to focus on the debate of whether the OU "forced" or "ordered" (as the Daily News headline put it) the name change. Then I saw there were discussions on whether a supervision should have the right to tell a restaurant what to name themselves. I will let the latter subject be something people can talk about it. But I just want to set the record straight on the "forced" part. I was speaking to the owners well before they changed hashgachas and they were already committed to changing their name. The fact that they asked the OU to become their supervision, shows that they were ready to do that. So it wasn't like the OU "forced" them to change the name, it was something the owners were deciding to do as well. In fact, I just spoke to Rabbi Elefant from the OU and he is very happy with the way things are going and has a very good relationship with the owners. So enough drama and let's eat some food!"Let that be some "food for thought", too... let's not assume that to OU was FORCING them to do anything- and if the OU has a high enough standard that the restaurant was ready to change their name before they even went to the OU to request their certification, then Kol Hakavod to both the restaurant for adhering to those standards, and to the OU for demonstrating high standards!
March 8, 2013 6:56 PM
The OU is right
The OU has the right to set their own standards. A restaurant does not have a RIGHT to a particular supervision they choose. They have to earn the right to receive it, by proving to the supervisor agency that they can live up to the required standard, and that may include the name as well.What I want to know is, why any self respecting Jew would want to patronize a restaurant named Jezebel? WHat if someone named a restaurant Jesus, would that be OK also?
March 8, 2013 3:14 PM
Maybe Jezebel wasn't a nice lady, but there is a wide difference between calling a restaurant Jezebel and say Hitler's cafe. Maybe the restaurant owners wanted the idea to be, that the food is so good, it's almost gluttonous, or maybe a tad evil and that's how people will feel after they eat there. For sure, they are hoping that the name will be a crowd drawer.. If you have been to Israel, you will note that many Israelis, even orthodox ones, name their kids absolutely shocking names like Nimrod and Avshalom for boys, Hagar for a girl. I once commented to someone (frum) about naming a girl Hagar, and was told "what's wrong with Hagar, she was after all a princess. Well, she was after all the mother of Ishmael, from whom our enemies decended, so while the saying "what's in a name," may be true to some extent, these names as well as Jezebel are on the cusp of bad taste. I might eat at Jezebel, if it has a proper Hashgacha, but will allowing the restaurant to call itself Jezebel, begin a slippery slope for others to call themselves even more outlandish names?
miriam W. Cohen,
March 8, 2013 2:18 PM
I do not believe in that kind of control. The place is kosher, uses ou wine, and not any other kind of supervision. And eveything in a restaurant that has OU, has to have an OU hechsher, so kosher wine from Israel cannot be used. This is simply a name and that is advertising, no kashrus.
March 12, 2013 8:56 PM
Israeli kosher wine is ok
I think there are wines from Israel that bear the O.U., or that are otherwise acceptable to the O.U..
March 15, 2013 4:15 AM
They do allow wines from Israel
The OU allows Israeli wines bearing an OU or an OK. I'm also pretty sure that not all items in OU certifed establishments require OU hechsher.
March 8, 2013 10:02 AM
right to choose who they certify kosher
Jezebel was not An Israelite. She was pagan, worshiped pagan god, Baal. Tried to kill Elijah, and killed many Jewish prophets. Most evil woman in the bible and possibly the most evil person. Private group may choose whom they choose to.
March 8, 2013 4:31 AM
To compromise only decreases values
I think they are well with in their rights not to compromise and decrease their values. Fuzzy lines are easier to cross and standards come up missing. Washington is all fuzzy lines now and we're on the verge of another Holicost because of it.
March 7, 2013 6:13 PM
For those who think that the name is beyonf the authority of the Beth Din! What if they wanted to all it "The Kosher Pig"(or any variation?)then what?
March 7, 2013 2:48 PM
have we forgotten
Have we forgotten what the word Jezebel means? Just the history of the word itself....the root word Baal.....the good she served? That should be enough to discourage me from being a patron. Very sad we have forgotten
March 7, 2013 2:31 PM
I bet Jezebel was a great cook!!
I think the OU is over stepping their boundaries ....
March 7, 2013 6:12 AM
Who is overstepping their boundaries?
I wannabe a doctor.I have the highest grades and college-entry exam scores in all the land.I apply for Harvard Medical School and am rejected after failing to pass the interview.I am outraged:I was taking university courses when I was 14-years-old!I memorized the content of Gray’s Anatomy when I was 15!I obtained a B.Sc. in biology when I was 17!However, Harvard Medical School, not I, determine the prerequisites of who will subsequently bear the certificate its institution indicating that its recipient is fit to heal members of the public.
March 6, 2013 9:57 PM
It is mentioned in Vayikra (and implied) to be holy and one of those is relating to kosher rules. Holiness is all inclusive - it touches everything. The humor of the restaurant's name is not humorous. Nor the situation the orthodox union was placed in. I would go into the restaurant but only to clear it out if there were G-d fearing men who entertained such things as to allow that woman's influence. Psalm 12 and 13.
March 6, 2013 8:13 PM
Upon closer examination, they might have changed the name logo, however, it isn't really changed considering the website & listing online is still the original name. Go ahead & google it yourself. Seems like they still sortof did what they wanted to. It makes me really sad. That seems to be the point these days...blur the lines so that no one can see. The line is constantly being pushed further & further in the wrong direction. All one has to do is not watch tv for a week & then turn on a show & see how desensitized a person can get. This restaurant topic might seem like a small thing to some people, but where does it stop? Please just be mindful that the point is that Jewish people not get divided or bitter, but debate with understanding & Remember History. What would Abraham have to say about this? This whole topic makes me think about a quote I recently heard about indifference. I think these days it is very important to not be indifferent as the lines constantly are crossed.Blessings & much Shalom!
March 6, 2013 6:35 PM
I will also admit that ....
when I wrote that "their supervision should stop in the kitchen" again, perhaps that was wrong headed. They are within their rights not to have to work in an establishment if they find it against their morals. But I still stand by my observation that many in the orthodox world (and I am plenty religious myself) are fanatical.
March 6, 2013 6:25 PM
A few more things .....
.. I will admit that the OU is within its rights if they do not want to certify this establishment because of its name. It is a private enterprise as the restaurant is. Unlike in Israel, where religion is all mixed up with the state the OU here is not a part of the official American government so Jews here can use other kosher certification agencies, which is a good thing. Also I don't hate Haredim. As a group they have many great strengths, however, I think the reason why I was so harsh on my criticism of the OU and many in the orthodox world is because they never let up and, therefore come across as ridiculous. People can become so "cause oriented" as to make themselves insane. Sort of like refusing to enter the city of San Francisco because it's named after the Roman Catholic saint or boycotting Caesar's Palace because of who the Caesars were (not that I'm in love with gambling). My guess is that the restaurant decided to name itself what it did because they wanted to be a little bit humorous and edgy - that's all. Now if they made their customers bow to baal that would be a different story!
March 6, 2013 6:16 PM
Stay in the kitchen!
The Kashrut agency should stay in the Kitchen. Let market forces decide if the name is appropriate or not. Frankly, I think people will care much more about the quality of the food and service. Furthermore, this is a very dangerous slippery slope. Where does such interference end? Can they dictate what the waitresses wear? The names of items on the menu? The type of music? The type of dancing? (Remember the Glatt Yacht fiasco?) Even if there can be women serving at all? (Yup, there was such an insane case in Jerusalem recently.) This type of overreaching is exactly what we here in Israel are fighting so hard against. Don't let this Talibanization of Judaism infect the US!
March 6, 2013 1:55 PM
missing the point...
I think they should have never called themselves jezebel, and I think the OU was right. But it doesn't really matter. For me the biggest problem is how can the OU prevent them from using non mevushal wine? That's against all sense of taste... In wanting people to be more machmir than required we are pushing wine lovers towards"other" options... Not very inclusive...
March 6, 2013 1:39 PM
I agree with the OU
Yes, Jezebel is a pretty name and the fact that most Jews do not know their Jewish history does not in any way make the name Kosher, I agree with the OU because there is the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. A restaurant that adheres to the Torah's laws should not be named for a person who did not adhere to the Torah's laws- purposely and maliciously. We are after all, talking about a murderess. Should a Hashgacha organization supervise a strip club or a gay bar? I don't doubt that the food is kosher, but come on, they chose that name for shock value. Perhaps we should concentrate on teaching fellow Jews about their history. BTW, there is (or was ) a store, possibly a restaurant in India called Hitlers. There was an outcry and I believe that they changed the name eventually although the owners claimed they had no idea who Hitler was.
March 6, 2013 9:45 AM
Pretty name! I would eat there. Some people take themselves too seriously.
March 6, 2013 4:43 AM
Yes, I would walk into a kosher restaurant named Jezebel
The OU is "certifiably" insane. Haredi themselves or Haredi wannabes, they are ALWAYS overstepping their boundaries and that is why they are being thrown out of power in Israel. People have had quite enough of their fanaticism. Yes, their supervision should stop in the kitchen. Would I step into a Cafe called Ahmadinejad now? Right now, I would have to admit that I would find this title pretty distasteful. But in a few thousand years - especially if Ahmadinejad were utterly defeated I wouldn't hold it against a Jew if he did.
March 6, 2013 2:24 AM
yes, i would patronize a restaurant named jezebel. it's not called "hitler's" keep the uo people in the kitchen were they belong. not the mccarthy censorship. jezebel is dead. who cares? the average jew probably doesn't know her.
March 8, 2013 1:51 AM
IT IS THE SAME THING
Yes, Calling it Jezebel is EXACTLY the same as calling it "hitler's" or "khadafi's" or "Chavez'" or "OSAMA'S" You do not name a restaurant, which has G-d's mark on it, after an evil person.
March 6, 2013 2:20 AM
Boar's Head Kosher Dill Pickles
Any comments on this product that I just passed in the supermarket? Even if it's not certified kosher, it's disturbing that they're using "kosher" to mean a particular style of preparation of pickles. And if it is certified (I honestly don't know), then why is that kosher certification being given to a product that's affiliated with MANY non-kosher products including ham?
March 6, 2013 12:22 AM
I agree with the OU! You don't want your hechsherbeing associated with a name like that!
What if the menu has a 32 ounce Hitler steak, or a Nebuchadnezzar tossed salad ?
Get my point?
March 5, 2013 11:16 PM
NO NO NO NO NO
It is wrong. They are following the goyim, not caring about what is proper and correct.
March 5, 2013 11:09 PM
It looks like, the name change to J Soho is now in effect. I want to add something and that is, doesn't it seem like we get hit with these ethical questions all the time, and then have to figure out where to draw the line? I honestly think G_d is powering all this dialogue and that the heat of controversy and these analyses is where not only it's at, but also a fact that, G_d is laughing!
March 5, 2013 11:02 PM
Bellicose, about Jezibel?
That's surely an interesting question. I wonder whether the restaurant will change its name? Hss this ever happened before, namely, refusal to supervise for Kosher unless a restaurant changes its name? People eat at restaurant's called Snake Bite, so would that be a problem if this were a kosher restaurant. Snake surely had a bad "rap'. And what about naming restaurant items, like Maimonedes Chicken Salad? Where do we or they, draw the line? I wouldn't eat for sure at a restaurant that bore the name of a major terrorist or actor in the middle east crisis that was questionable. I am actually not sure Jezebel would bother me, It's a name and I am not sure what this is supposed to mean. Why not ask why, Jezebel? Generally the food is the major attraction and it could be controversy is the real reason...I mean there is Zaftig's in Brookline, and that isn't exactly a great, to be reminded of being zaftig while one eats...
positive attribute? but it's not a kosher restaurant.
March 5, 2013 10:03 PM
The leader of Iran would be offensive, but not this modern name. Resources should be aimed at important issues. This is petty.
March 5, 2013 9:58 PM
Yes, the ou can do what it wants. Jezebel isn't appropriate. But "Josh" is correct about it being about more than food. When we can rely on restaurants paying their employees at the end of the workday, and can have some greater assurance from ou not just about how the animals ending up on our plate were treated before slaughter, and assurance from ou that the animals ate healthy, pesticide-free food and not GMO trash that is recently being alleged to directly affect human fertility when consumed via meat in American-diet quantity over long term [the ultimate no-no -- possibly affecting life itself], then and only they can ou start worrying about a restaurant's name. Until then, they look like they have serious work to do, and they should back off. Otherwise it makes them look hypocritically self-serving. I support companies and initiatives like Wise Organic, which carries both an ou and organic certification, and my family can see the difference. Why can't ou?
March 7, 2013 9:55 PM
why one food and not another?
Haman was unquestionably evil. We eat a food named for him. One day we'll eat Jads, which may have white chocolate chunks akin to Ahmadini's constant $*it-eating grin. So, tell me again how naming a restaurant or food after one evil is OK but another isn't? By current OU logic, must I now forego hamentashen?
March 5, 2013 9:20 PM
How about "Zebel" ?
March 8, 2013 4:32 PM
More like garbage
Yecch! , "Zebel" is close enough to zevel (garbage in Hebrew) that would be a complete turn-off for most people.
Vivian S. Richman,
March 5, 2013 9:14 PM
It's the Principle of this matter
I certainly agree with the OU on this issue. I would never patronize a restaurant up scale or not with a connotative name or phrase that is remeniscent of anything negative!
March 5, 2013 8:59 PM
I agree with you!
I would never patronize a restaurant with a name like that. They have a right to request the name change. You are known by the company you keep and it is like they would be condoning Jezebel, or at least winking at it and not taking Judaism seriously. You can't separate the religion from a way of life.
March 5, 2013 8:51 PM
Association is powerful-everyone knows Jezebel was a Jezebel...
The supervising Rabbis aren't-demanding to "dictate the name " of the place, just refusing to approve by association the combination of kosher and the observance of Torah law, with a historical character specifically , notoriously iconic of the opposite of kosher, of rebellion against Hashem's law.
March 5, 2013 7:58 PM
Kosher is more than Food
I that Kosher is more than just the way food is handled and prepared- It's about embodying an ideal. By the OU requesting Jezebel change their name before granting them certification, they are clearly saying that there is more to kosher than just the way food is handled and prepared. As such, instead of focusing on the names of restaurants the OU should be making some effort to regulate the way employees of kosher restaurants are treated. Tell me, what is more important: The NAME of a restaurant (even if it was inadvertently named after a rasha) or a kosher restaurant that looks great on paper, but doesn't pay it employees on time or treat them fairly? The latter is clearly in the torah.
March 6, 2013 1:28 AM
Over-stepping their domain
They are overstepping their authorization. How do we know if the owner's wife's name is not Jezebel, a name bestowed upon her by her parents. Apparently her parents gave little credence to what happened almost three millennia ago. It is their mitzvah.
March 5, 2013 7:44 PM
evil and cruelty is the nemesis of the entire idea of eating kosher
A person´s name who made evil and was cruel to other human being, no matter how long a go the fact happened should never be patronize, even more if the evil and cruelty was against an entire nation.
March 5, 2013 7:24 PM
Bad publicity is still publicity
really, would anyone have anything to say if it was called Isabelle?
March 5, 2013 7:09 PM
i agree with the OU.
I will not eat in a resturant with that name!
March 5, 2013 6:44 PM
With certification comes expectations
The standards that restaurants are asked to follow are already pretty lax. It is not uncommon for men to be exposed to women's singing over the restaurant's sound system. If I am traveling, I probably will not know in advance which place to avoid.
March 5, 2013 6:37 PM
The Jezbel Restaurant Debate
Since the OU is a certifying agency, they have the right to deny certification to whom they decide. What if the restaurant were named after Hitler or Satan? The OU made the correct decision.
March 5, 2013 5:52 PM
source of name was not Biblical woman
but it's still a bad name see below from a kosher res't website on original opening
Jezebel is under the Supervision of Rabbi Melhman.
The name for the restaurant is after the 1938 film named Jezebel, starring Bette Davis.
March 5, 2013 5:38 PM
good for the O.U.
The comments of Yoel and anonymous(7), and also Bob are absolutely right. We have this problem here all the time. Hotels with xmas trees for the Christain tourists scream and yell because they can't get a "Rabbanute" heksher until they take down the tree. There was a worse incident when a Jewish women who is suspected of missionary work wanted a "Rabbinute" heksher for her coffee shop and they told her no, but the government and the press interfered so much that they gave in and said that she had to have a mashgiach there all the opening hours even though she just served coffee and cake because such a person cannot be trusted at all. And they yelled and screamed about that also. I don't know what happened at the end but in the U.S. where you have much more religious freedom than we have here, the kashrus organizations shouldn't give in on anything against their principals. And certainly no Jew should walk into such a place.
March 5, 2013 5:25 PM
ou did not dictate the name. they merely said that they would take a pass on providing one of their mashgichim for kashrus oversight. i don't see the problem.
March 5, 2013 5:23 PM
Should a kosher restaurant be named Jezebel?
I believe that a kosher restaurant should not be named after an evil person, especially one who has harmed the Jewish people.
March 5, 2013 5:07 PM
Are you kidding me??
Kosher is the substances we eat for food and nutrition as based on Torah...what a name has to do with whether an establishment provides kosher food is so ridiculous and archaic!!..the kashrus organization should be happy that the owners want to make sure that the restaurant will be kosher an meet all the requirements thereof so that patrons looking for a quality kosher meal can do so!!...just another bunch of BS and political nonsense that causes a rift amongst our own...does anyone remember why the holy temple was destroyed??..
March 5, 2013 5:05 PM
i see this as a nyc issue
from a liberal perspective, i think much of american jewry would see this as a lack of a sense of irony or humor on the part of the OU or the orthodox community at large. A restaurant with a sense of humor is not a crime; the important part is whether they do accept halacha restrictions or not. Having a laugh at your own tribal customs is a positive step to seeing the world in humanist terms; too much analysis just gives diners indigestion issues.
March 5, 2013 2:15 PM
ezevel kept 100% kosher
ezevel kept 100% kosher as stated in the gemara in chulin 5a that elyahu hanavi ate from achuv's kitchen!
March 4, 2013 5:44 PM
its a standards issue
When a kashrus agency gives its approval, people will come into the establishment expecting a certain minimum atmosphere. That means that if a family or an individual comes in to eat, they do not expect to see a striptease or see or hear any type of vulgar sights and sounds. Part of the reason they may come in is because of the integrity of the kashrus agency associated with the establishment. There is a minimum level of atmosphere expected. If the agency starts giving exceptions, then a negative domino effect happens and another restaurant will want exceptions for whatever reason. It’s very simple: If you want an agency that is known for its integrity to cover your establishment so you can draw in big crowds to cover your costs, you must adhere to their policies. If you want to shop around and end up getting an agency that is questionable, you risk that no one will show up because no one will trust your restaurant even in the kitchen! As with this establishment, giving benefit of the doubt, it seems that the name was chosen out of sheer ignorance.
March 4, 2013 5:34 PM
The owners of Jezebel CHOSE to approach the OU and ask them to certify their restaurant. They then CHOSE to adhere to the standards established by the OU (changing the name and getting rid of the non-mevushal wine). Alternatively, Jezebel could have CHOSEN to keep their name and not go with the OU. There are many restaurants out there with other kashrus certifications; the Jezebel owners were not forced into this situation, they CHOSE the OU. I feel like this whole story is spiraling out of control, where the OU are the big, bad Rabbis forcing poor, suffering Jezebel into an untenable position. In actuality, this was all a CHOICE made by Jezebel.
March 4, 2013 4:49 PM
poor name choice
When I heard that Jezebel was opening up my first reaction was - "Do they know who Jezebel was and how awful she was to the Jews? How could they use a name like that?" It was a very poor choice on their part. I haven't been there nor do I plan to go. The fact that they were pre-warned abut the name and still didn't change it says something too.
March 4, 2013 4:10 AM
What's the issue?
From a legal perspective, businesses with controversial names are not a protected class, and the kashrus organization can refuse to do business with them based on their name.
Just like an individual can choose not to patronize the business, a kashrus organization can refuse to service them.
March 3, 2013 10:42 PM
Kosher supervision organizations should clearly have the option to deny certification to a resturant based on any aspect of the establishment that is an afront to the moral sensibilities of the kashrut organization, whether it be the name of the resturant, dress, decor, names of dishes,... There is more to determining a kosher standard than the simple ingedients of the food. The Torah dictates the standards we must live by in all aspects of life. When I walk into an establishment certified kosher by a reliable kashrut organization I would like to be assured that more than just the kitchen has been inspected.
March 5, 2013 1:54 AM
I agree with your comments. It is a good thing that they stood on this principle. Every day the limits are being pushed in society to the point where you can barely walk down a city street without seeing an inappropriate billboard, etc. It is so encouraging & I'm so very glad that they stood firmly on this.
March 3, 2013 9:06 PM
Use "kosher" kosherly.
I just looked up "kosher" on dictionary.com. Besides the "food" meaning, people use it informally to mean:
a. proper; legitimate. b. genuine; authentic.
Seems like if we want to be worthy of the respect the English-speaking world has given the word "Kosher", it makes sense to support the O-U decision.
March 3, 2013 2:21 PM
For me personally, the goal of a restaurant should be: to be a good restaurant that is kosher, rather than a kosher restaurant that happens to be good. I believe a restaurant should be allowed to be called whatever it wishes to be called. Even though "Jezebel" may be an unfortunate name choice, it is up to the patron to decide if it's offensive to the point of not patronizing it. This is NOT a kashrus issue. Let me put it another way: would I go into a glatt kosher restaurant if it were called "Hitler Cafe?" No! I would not patronize such a place. But that doesn't mean that it wouldn't be kosher, just grossly inappropriate and offensive.
March 5, 2013 4:28 AM
I hear you
I hear what you're saying and it makes sense. However if you look around you comments before and after you you will see that that's not what it's all about our dietary observance as Jews was never limited to the food alone. It's also about: who we are eating it with, where we are eating and so on... It's unfortunate that many people think that if we "keep" Shabbos and if we keep kosher that means we are religious Jews. "Keeping" (shomer) Shabbos means not to desecrate it, but there's much more than only keeping Shabbos...there's also remembering it - I could go to work on Shabbos without desecrating it but it would be against the spirit of Shabbos. And the same goes for Kashrus. The Torah is a way of life. It is not only in the kitchen, in the synagogue, in the study hall etc. It's in every single facet of our lives. That is what makes us the chosen nation, the nation that is separate from any other nation - the nation who was redeemed from Egypt because our language was different are names were different - we are charged to be a light unto the other nations because of how we act wherever we may be - not only because (if at all) what we eat, how and where we pray...etc. There are many other religions that have dietary laws and different ways of praying but they can act outside however they want. But we cannot because we are princes, as the Torah states: a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Have a kosher and happy Passover!
March 3, 2013 12:11 PM
Bette Davis' Jezebel
The owners said that they took the name not from the Biblical villain but from a movie about a Southern young women from antebellum days before the Civil War. Nevertheless, the name is a synonym for wickedness (even in the movie, she played an immoral character) and should not be used. On the restaurant's website, it shows that they have changed their name to "The J." What's more disturbing is their observance of the non-Jewish New Years. The following is taken from their website: "The J's third big event is the December 31st New Year’s Eve dinner. Consisting of a four course menu with wine pairings, the event will conclude with an open bar from midnight to 2am and will feature a large screen showcasing the ball drop. There will be a live band and DJ and NYE party favors for all those who attend. Champagne specials at $150 a bottle will also be available." Why is that allowed?
March 5, 2013 4:59 PM
For that matter, why is Dougie's allowed to have Super Bowl specials? Watching the ball drop is a fairly harmless (and certainly not religious) way to celebrate the new secular year. Now, if it would be Christmas dinners, I would agree with you. Clear lines must be drawn between something that has negative religious implications (like Jezebel and Christmas) and what doesn't (like the Super Bowl and watching the ball drop). Otherwise, where does it end?
March 5, 2013 6:09 PM
We can celebrate American holidays as well as Jewish yomim tovim
Dec. 31/Jan. 1 have no intrinsic religious meaning. Given the deeply religious nature of our Rosh Hashanah, many of us also choose to celebrate the secular hoiiday just for fun. (Similarly, we celebrate Thanksgiving in honor of the Pilgrims, not just Sukkot.)
I would assume that if a restaurant had a reliable kosher certification, it would be an acceptable place to eat. I'm not a rabbi (nor is my husband), so I would rely on the kashrut organization to make all those decisions.
And I must say I've been disappointed when I've entered kosher establishments where the kitchen is (presumably) kosher but the dining area is not clean.
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