A basic need...Work together

The JC Leader column: June 21, 2019

June 20, 2019 11:20

A basic need

For the majority of British Jews, access to kosher food is relatively easy. In the main, we live in or relatively close to areas where kosher shops are viable. For a sizeable minority, however, the opposite is true. That is obviously the case in smaller communities, where simply buying kosher meat is a major logistical operation. But as the crisis at Roseman’s Delicatessen in Liverpool shows, even in a city with a large Jewish population there may only be one kosher shop — and if, as has now happened, there is an issue with that shop, the result is an immediate problem with kosher provision for many thousands of people.

This week’s events in Liverpool and Prestwich are shocking and sudden and have brought home the problem particularly starkly. But even if there had been no problem with Roseman’s, the issue would be no less important. It is an issue that affects many every day of every week. The Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council and the various local rep councils all do sterling and important work in this area but the current model for kosher provision is simply not satisfactory.  We need to go back to square one and think about how we can ensure that anyone who wants to keep kosher can do so, no matter where they live.

That means being creative — and being unafraid to think of ideas which might seem economically unviable but which nonetheless have an imperative to their implemenation. Just as some communities have found that Jewish schools have been a catalyst for renewal, and have determined they simply must find the means, so we need to consider everything from subsidy to direct provision. There are many calls on communal finances, almost all of which are justified. But few things are more basic or important than the ability to keep kosher.

Work together

It’s not the usual news from Gaza and the West Bank: over a hundred Palestinians are set to receive millions of dollars from share options. But the buyout of Mellanox, an Israeli tech company, shows that when individual Israelis and Palestinians work together they can transcend the hopelessness that can so easily dominate. Israel is already a hi-tech powerhouse; it is just one tragic aspect of the conflict that a Palestinian state could be the same.

June 20, 2019 11:20

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