Feb 24, 2008

the newest cherem - maybe

There might be a new cherem cropping up.
Supposedly, there is now a cherem declared against shopping in the Shefa Shuk supermarket.

The reason why I say "supposedly" is because I have not seen the actual letter (a.k.a. pashkevil) declaring the cherem with the Rabbis signed on it. It was not in the Haredi press this past week. I have only seen it in one source, which would be today's newspaper "Yisrael HaYom" which is not typically the paper of choice used by the Haredi leadership to spread its news. Even on the Internet forums that discuss these issues, all the discussion is based on this one article and nobody has produced the original pashkevil. So I am suspicious as to the authenticity of the ban at this point.

"Cherem" is a hot word. It makes people think of big boycotts. It brings out debates for and against as if there is something extremely significant about it. In reality all this is is a consumer ban on a supermarket chain because a certain public does not like a certain policy. Consumer bans happen all the time all over the world. I think consumer bans are legitimate and the Haredi public has a right to avoid buying in Shefa Shuk as an attempt to get the owner to change his policy. Of course, the owner has the right to say he is not interested and tell them to go fly a kite. Then it is a matter of who has more staying power and if the Haredi public has adequate alternatives.

The ban is against buying from the Shefa Shuk Supermarket chain. Shefa Shuk is a chain of supermarkets that specializes in catering to the needs of the haredi/religious public. All items sold within are of mehadrin kashrus, prices are (supposedly) cheaper than the general market, more buying in bulk (but nothing like in a Sam's Club), etc. The reason for the ban is that the owner of Shefa Shuk, Dudi Weissman, also owns the Blue Square Co. which runs a chain of stores called AM:PM. These stores are open on Shabbos, and specifically there is one in Tel Aviv right next to a shul that is open on Shabbos.

A representative approached the management with a request to shut the store on Shabbos. When he refused, they contacted the Committee for Shabbos observance or something like it, who brought the issue to Rav Elyashiv. Rav Elyashiv agreed that Shefa Shuk should be banned unless the owner complies and closes AM:PM on Shabbos. There is no reason the Haredi public should continue shopping in Shefa Shuk while they also run a chain of stores that is open on Shabbos.

I am still looking for a copy of the original pashkevil and letter that was signed, or for another source. Until I do see it, I am skeptical as to the authenticity of such a cherem, even though it is very plausible.

In the meantime, I am watching with interest to see how this develops and who folds first...

sorry - I meant to post this. I normally would not post a scan of a newspaper article, but because I cannot yet find any original letter, this is all I've got at this point...


  1. http://chareidi.shemayisrael.com/KSS68aampm.htm

    No word of a ban... yet.

  2. I now included the original article I saw...

  3. Is it wrong of me to hope that there is a ban so that when I shop there the lines will be shorter and I wont be hit by shopping carts steered by 4 year olds?

  4. Chaya Tova - I like it. I am hoping there is a ban so that maybe Shefa will lower the prices to entice consumers to ignore the ban.

    Maybe we should have a contest asking readers to give their reasons why they would hope for a cherem!

  5. Consumer bans happen all the time all over the world.


    Consumer BOYCOTTS happen all the time all over the world.

    There is a world of difference between a boycott and a ban.

  6. banshee.. it was a typo.. I meant boycott. But what is the difference between a ban and a boycott? please explain.

  7. There's a shul open on Shabbos?!?!? ("...and specifically there is one in Tel Aviv right next to a shul that is open on Shabbos.") Maybe there should be a cherem against it as well.

  8. the shul is ok because the rabbi does not work on shabbos

  9. in modern hebrew, is the word cherem synonymous with the word protest? or does it really mean ban and simply has become overused?

    the difference being a halachic one. cherem and protest are technically 2 different issues.

  10. cherem is not the word used for protest. It owuld mean ban or boycott. It might not be a halachik cherem (such as not giving an aliya and all that), but it means to boycott the store.

  11. This is old news. I saw the pashkevil months ago, maybe even a year ago. It was one of those vaad kedushas shabbos ones where there are no names, only a call to protest - meaning no one listens to it

  12. Serves them right!
    They boycott Lem'an Achai in favor of the Kupa-

    Let them get a taste of their own medicine!

  13. How about ban the Chareidim for once?

  14. "I think consumer bans are legitimate and the Haredi public has a right to avoid buying in Shefa Shuk as an attempt to get the owner to change his policy."

    of course they are legitimate, but are they always prudent? sometimes they backfire and whatever results are desired are not worth the bad press. let's give hilonim another reasons to hate datiyim.

    also, what if some hilonim decide to organize a boycott of hassidim for whatever reason (like the previous comment). would people be so willing to support the abstract right to boycott in that case as well, or would this be condemned as anti-religious bigotry?

  15. LOZ - I hear you point.. and when companies boycott Israel (see Pepsi for example) we scream anti-semitism, etc...

  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. B"H I haven't been to Shefa Shuq for like 7 yrs., and it was still called Shefa Mehadrin I think. I had EVERYTHING you could imagine for Pesah in one place and at reasonalbe prices. There are a lot of other options these days. I certainly do not want to support non Shomer Shabbath businesses and business oweners. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, and if the owners decision is determined by how much money he'd lose in Tel Aviv by closing AM PM on Shabbath. I really don't think there would be much of a boycott against AM PM for closing on Shabbath. AM PM's are EVERYWHERE in T-A, and still would be very convenient for T-A residents.


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