By Cathy Forman
March 27, 2009
Should the Redbridge community be flattered or embarressed by Chabad’s decisiion to open a kosher grocery shop in Gants Hill in the run-up to Pesach?
On the one hand, it’s great that the organisation has noticed that a community of some 20,000 souls is having to rely on a handful of kosher butchers and bakers and local mainstream supermarkets for its kosher grocery needs.
But then, should the community be asking why is it that for many years it has not been able to support a kosher restaurant and since the closure of Brownstein's delicatessen last year, a kosher grocery shop? The community has two vibrant Jewish primary schools, an excellent secondary school, flourishing synagogues and in Sinclair House, a well-supported community centre. Why do Redbridge residents have to make the shlep over to north-west London for kosher eateries? The fact that they do surely shows that such outlets would be welcomed in the area. But, since the closure of Sharon's restaurant many years ago, us Ilfordians have had to make the dreary trek along the North Circular - demonstrating a level of commitment in itself!
Maybe the team of Chabad Lubavitch volunteers could extend their outreach arm to running a kosher restaurant in this leafy suburb of north-east London.