Following a complaint filed by Yad L’Achim, the Jerusalem Rabbinate has informed the operators of the Forte Café in downtown Jerusalem that it will lose its kashrus certification if it continues missionary activities in the café, a violation of state law. The café is located in the Klall Building which is situated between Jaffa and Aggripas Streets adjacent to Machane Yehuda.
According to Yad L’Achim, there is preaching along with efforts to give out copies of the New Testament to patrons.
According to the head of the Jerusalem Religious Council Kashrus Department Rabbi Yaakov Ruchamkin, they tried giving a copy to a mashgiach.
While the Rabbanut acted appropriately, and while missionary activity is against the law, it is unclear if the rabbinate may remove kashrus as a result of the missionary activity. It is very likely that if the café challenges the Jerusalem Rabbinate in court, the latter will lose.
Ynet quotes Stanley Moshe, the owners’ representative saying “the place does belong indirectly to a Evangelical Christian businessman, but is not affiliated with the missionary and that no such activity takes place in the café.”
He added that at the moment the owners prefer to negotiate with the Rabbinate rather than take legal action.
YWN-ISRAEL also found that Café Forte is listed under “Prayer Points – October 2013” on the Jerusalem Prayer Tower website.
YWN-ISRAEL recently reported Yad L’Achim activities in the Petach Tikvah area too, as residents of the area found copies of the New Testament in area mailboxes.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)