Kosher deli owner sparks kashrut row in Glasgow

By Simon Rocker, September 27, 2012

The Lubavitch owner of a kosher deli has caused a stir in Glasgow by choosing to supervise it himself rather than come under the umbrella of the local kashrut authority.

Rabbi Mendel Jacobs took over Hello Deli in August, announcing that it was under the “strict” supervision of himself and his wife Tzirl.

But the West of Scotland Kashrus Commission (WSKC), which licenses kosher outlets in the city including another store, Mark’s Deli, has been trying to persuade him to affiliate.

Rabbi Moshe Rubin, the commission’s rabbinic head, said: “Self-supervision is not supervision. Supervision means you have an external, independent person who does it.

“We are hoping he will come round to our way of thinking and join the community structure.”

Rabbi Rubin, minister of Giffnock and Newlands Synagogue, felt “very strongly” about the issue. “One person breaking away from that communityhas consequences down the line,” he said. “If everyone does what they want with kashrut, where do you draw the line?”

Hello Deli sells fresh meat and, according to a recent advert, “heimishe Jewish foods like your mother and bobbee used to make”.

Rabbi Jacobs declined comment.

Mark Cohen, owner of Mark’s Deli, which came under supervision last autumn when he opened a cafe in the store, said he was “delighted” with the WSKC. “They are very helpful. They go out of their way to make it economical.”

He added: “There are a lot of people who come to Scotland as tourists or for business, so if they see a hechsher [kosher certificate] that we are supervised by the commission in Glasgow, it’s reassuring for them.”

Last updated: 9:45pm, September 27 2012