NJ Restaurant says kosher certification at risk for flying Israeli flag

Sandwich shop owner claims ultra-Orthodox Kashrus Council of Lakewood threatened to strip its accreditation for raising flag to mark Independence Day

The South Side Sandwich Shop in Lakewood, New Jersey. (Facebook)
The South Side Sandwich Shop in Lakewood, New Jersey. (Facebook)

JTA — The owner of a kosher sandwich shop in New Jersey said he was told by his kashrut certifying agency that if he did not remove an Israeli flag hanging outside of his store that it would pull his kosher certification.

The South Side Sandwich Shop in Lakewood hung an Israeli flag outside the store for Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, alongside an American flag and a drab olive green flag of the Israel Defense Forces, which had been hung for Yom Hazikaron, or Israel’s memorial day.

Shop owner Yosef Mutterperl told the Yeshiva World News that he was told by the ultra-Orthodox Kashrus Council of Lakewood that “if he does not remove the ‘Zionist’ flag, he should remove the Kashrus certification off his wall.”

The store owner told YWN that on Thursday hundreds of people came to the store to support him and that he has never sold more sandwiches in one day in his life.

Yeshiva World News said that its calls to the Kashrus Council were ignored.

The Matzav Jewish news website reported that the effort to have the flag removed began with individuals calling the Kashrus Council. The council asked for advice from one of its “senior rabbinic advisors” who felt that since the shop was located near the haredi Lakewood Yeshiva that the flag should be taken down.

The website “confirmed that claims that the KCL would pull its hashgacha (certification) from the establishment if the store did not adhere to the request are false.”

Some ultra-Orthodox Jews do not recognize the state of Israel, because they are waiting for the Messiah to establish a Jewish homeland.

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