Feb 17, 2019

pizza and Bnei Braq to meet halfway

you know you live an exciting life when pizza is the big news item of your day...

Rav Landau is both the Chief Rabbi of Bnei Braq and also the head of a well-respected, and very stringent, kashrut certification organization.

Until now, Rav Landau has refused to grant kashrut certification to pizza shops in Bnei Braq saying the very nature of the beast is problematic and against the atmosphere of a city like Bnei Braq. Even pizza shops that would be take-out only, without seating, were not allowed, lest they become hangouts. Despite Rabbi Landau's position against pizza shops, a couple of shops opened in the city in recent years, under other hechshers.

Now, Rav Ladau has basically given in and is allowing take-out pizza shops to open in Bnei Braq. He is placing strict conditions on pizza shops wanting to open with his hechsher, and/or approval, but it is happening.

Rav Landau posted broadsides around town announcing the change of policy. He says that the policy against pizza shops has been in place to preserve the atmosphere of holiness in Bnei Braq. However, in recent years many have broken policy and pizza shops have opened against the opinion of the local rabbonim. Therefore, after much thought and consideration, it has been decided to allow take-out pizza shops that will be supervised with the strictest kashrut and modesty guidelines they will accept upon themselves to not allow any seating  or gathering. Whoever needs a meal of pizza can now buy it in a way that is kosher and appropriate for our city. Lest anyone should think that the ban on pizza shops has been lifted, that is not so - it remains and stands in its place. The only thing allowed is the take-out pizza shop with a commitment to kashrut, modesty and a commitment to what was stated above.
source: Kikar and Behadrei

Change is slow. Right now pizza is being allowed in Bnei Braq, even though they say it isn't being allowed while allowing it, and tomorrow it will be mixed dancing! Well, hopefully pizza won't bring about the downfall of Bnei Braq.

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  1. I am actually surprised that this is legal (if it is)

    To the best of my knowledge, part of the job of each city Rabbinate is to offer Rabbanut Hashgacha. By law this is the only body that can certify something as Kosher, and I am pretty sure that it is only allowed to certify whether the food is kosher, and not make any demands not related to the food preparation.

    If in addition to rabbanut, a business wants a private Mehadrin Hashgacha, the private hashgacha can make any restrictions or rules that it wants.

    Rabbi Landau is both the chief rabbi of the city and the head of a private kashrut organization.

    If he is wearing his "Private hechsher" hat representing the Landau Hashagacha, Rabbi Landau can place whatever restrictions he likes, and is free to insist that a business meets modesty standards or any other requirements before receiving the Landau mehadrin Hashgacha.

    But if he is wearing his "City Chief Rabbi" hat, offering hashgacha of "Rabbanut Bnei Breaq", to the best of my knowledge, the Rabbanut is legally not allowed to impose any restrictions not directly related to the kashrut of the food.

    I'm not sure if there is such a thing as "Rabbanut Bnei Braq" which carries the signature of the chief rabbi of the city, but is different from the private "Landau Hashgacha", but if not, I'm not sure how this is different from Rabbi Yosef (The City Rabbi, not Chief Rabbi brother) who got in trouble for insisting that business receive Mehadrin Beit Yosef in order to receive Rabbanut Hashgacha.

    1. I dont know about Rabbanut Bnei Braq and how that works, but it is clearly different from a place that has a rabbanut and the rabbi pressures patrons to use his family's private hechsher. If anyone files a complaint against Rabbi Landau for pressuring patrons to use the Landau hechsher instead of just rabbanut or instead of other hechshers, then it would be pretty similar, but I would not assume that Rabbi Landau is doing what Rabbi Avraham Yosef did.

  2. I heard Rav Landau wants to retire, but he wants to sell his private kashrut business. Ordinarily, his son would inherit the hashgacha, but the son is a meshichist lubabitcher, who would just ruin the business. (The father is also a lubavitcher, but not at all a meshichist)
    Try selling a hashgacha business, which though lucrative, requires many hours, and everyone knows the owner must sell. Not worth too much.

  3. so who gave the original hashgacha in contravention of the will of local rabbinic leadership?

    1. I am not sure but I have been told that there are a couple of pizza shops with the hechsher of shearis yisroel


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