High Court Orders Hechsher for Messianic Jewess


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courthammer1.jpgIn a troublesome ruling, Israel’s High Court this week ordered the Chief Rabbinate of Israel to issue a kashrus certificate to a Jewess who by her own definition if a Jew for Yeshu. She owns and operates two bakeries, Penina’s Pie, one in Ashdod and one in Gan Yavne. The Gan Yavne Rabbinate set conditions, explaining her faith in Catholicism compelled them to set stringent conditions for a hechsher, that she agree to ongoing inspections and that the mashgiach be given a key and free access to the bakery [which should be the case for any store].

After not agreeing to the conditions, Penina Comforti opened a second bakery in Ashdod and received supervision from the local rabbinate, hiding her religious preferences from the rabbis. She then turned to the Gan Yavne Rabbinate to reinstate her supervision, explaining she has one from Ashdod. The rabbis spoke and she was summoned to a meeting with Rabbi Yosef Sheinen of Ashdod, following which her kashrus certificate was revoked. The rabbi explained that after Comforti confirmed she believes in the New Testament, it became obvious to him that she is not trustworthy for kashrus matters.

Comforti however was not taking this without a fight, and she turned to the Supreme Court, a move that surprised the Ashdod Rabbinical Council, which then gave her a teudah once again, with restrictions. The main condition is that one of the main workers present most of the working hours is “Ne’eman B’Kashrus”, a trustworthy individual that will allay the rabbis’ fears. She was also instructed to give the mashgiach keys, as well as guaranteeing there would be no missionary activities on premises. This arrangement was to be reevaluated after one month.

The state recommended that the High Court reject the petition, explaining the rabbis did not refuse to grant a kashrut supervision, but set conditions as they felt were required to ensure the kashrus is upheld, in adherence to halacha. The court however decided to accept the petition and ruled against the rabbis.

The court stated that while it is not ruling on halachic matters, and that the rabbis must decide what is acceptable to meet halachic standards, the conditions set forth by the rabbis must comply with the law and considerations not connected to kashrus matters may not come into play.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)


  1. This article confuses me. What kind of a decision was made? Did the woman agree to the High Court decision? How did the state come into this? What’s not halachic here? Which bakery/ies have/or don’t have a Teukat Kashrut?

  2. Disgusting. So now they have to pass a new law? only a yid can get a kosher certificate without supervision…
    When in truth who’s to say that the supreme court has any right to limit what Halacha says. They may not be ruling on a halahic matter ,but they are interfering with Halacha

  3. In America there are many restaurants that are owned by nonjews, but have very strict hechsherim. For example in Baltimore, David Chu’s is own by a now jew but is under the hechsher of the Star -k. I’m curious why a jew who acts (or believes) like a non jew would be worse than a non jew?

  4. If you have a “state religion” then the state dictates the religion. No matter how conscientious a government rabbi is, he is still a civil servant working for a government controlled by a mixture of non-religious Jews and goyim.

    The traditional Jewish method is democratic. People select their rabbi (by listening to him), and know comes around with armed police to force each other. If a Satmar in New York doesn’t want to eat something with a Lubavitch hecksher, no one in a fancy uniform with a gun will make him eat it.

  5. I remember what happened to a video store in Yirushalayim a few years back that was dealing in shmutz. How long will these bakeries go without the same result????

  6. This does confuse me – the rabbanut were willing to give a hechsher if she complied with their rules and she said no. Now the supreme court said they have to offer her the hechsher with rules? Isn’t that the same thing they offered to begin with?

  7. #10 – The Rabbanut is more trusting of a frum Jew than of a goy. A frum Jew keeps kosher at home, and is assumed to be more able, and more inclined, to keep kosher in his store/restaurant. A goy needs more supervision. A frei Jew (one who specifically rejects Torah, and embraces an affirmative rejection of Torah and Mitsvos) is especially unreliable and especially in need of close supervision. The Hiloni courts rules that for a government hecksher, a frum Jew, a goy, and an openly anti-Torah Jews, must be treated alike.

  8. A heretic Jew is halachically less trustworthy than a non-Jew, for several reasons, among them the fact that the non-jew has respect for the Jews’ laws, and at least has not demonstrated contempt for them, unlike a heretic Jew, who shows contempt forTorah and has a clearly anti-halacha and anti-Rabbinic agenda.

  9. What about separation of synagogue and state? Can the high court rule the Chief Rabbinate to train a non-jew for a bar mitzvah?

    This idea of Xtian inspired “respect” for what is Jewish is total garbage and I say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

    This lady already does not hold to Judaism and does not understand what kashrus is. She should be found incompetent to receive a decision allowing her shops kashrus certification.

  10. As I was reading this, I was thinking the exact same thing as #3.
    None of this made sense.
    How can you trust someone who doesn’t follow halacha in her own personal life? She already lied before, so how could someone trust she would follow these rules set forth on her hechsher? If the Rabbinute is suppose to be the head of the state’s religious affairs, then how could the supreme court over rule them? This is ridiculous.

  11. First of all, I totally thought the same as #3 when I was reading this.
    This all makes no sense.
    If she doesn’t follow halacha in her own personal life, then how could anyone trust her keeping it inside her bakery? She already lied, so how could anyone believe that she’ll for sure comply with the rules set forth on her hechsher? If the rabbinute is suppose to be the head of the state’s religious doings, then how could the supreme court get involved?
    This is ridiculous.