Golders Green Judaica shop accused of selling ‘unfit’ mezuzot

Sephardi Beth Din investigating Sofer Stam following Federation religious authority's warning


The Sephardi Beth Din is conducting its own investigation into a Golders Green Judaica shop that has been accused by the Federation of Synagogues of selling invalid mezuzot and tefillin.

The Federation Beth Din, headed by Rabbi Shraga Feivel Zimmerman, notified its rabbis last month that anyone who had bought such items from Sofer Stam should have them checked.

A spokesman for the Sephardi Beth Din said it was “aware of the notice that has been put out regarding the shop and the SBD are performing their own investigation”.

According to the North-West London-based Federation, it had come to their attention that “many of the mezuzos sold locally are below standard, and particularly, with the smaller ones, frequently possul [unfit for religious use]”.

The Federation said Sofer Stam was the “most concerning”, continuing: “In the last few weeks, a number of sofrim [scribes] and magihim [proof-readers] have related to the Beis Din that they have checked numerous mezuzos and tefillin that have been purchased there which they have found to be possul.”

Additionally, the Federation Beth Din said it had viewed a Sefer Torah “as well as mezuzos and tefillin that apparently were purchased there that are completely possul”.

It understood the shop would “no longer be selling or checking” Sifrei Torah, mezuzot or tefillin.

Sofer Stam has not responded to requests for comment. On Wednesday, the shop was open but a notice on the door informed customers that the safrus (scribal) workshop was temporarily closed.

Dayan Menachem Gelley, head of the London Beth Din, has also written to United Synagogue rabbis in response to questions about items sold by a “particular establishment in Golders Green, some of whose tefillin and mezuzos have been found to have fallen beneath the required standard of kashrus”.

Anyone who had bought the artefacts there should have them checked as soon as possible, he directed.

Until they were checked, “halachically one may rely on the fact that any individual pair of tefillin or mezuza one has purchased was sourced from the ‘rov’ of the stores’s sechora [merchandise] which were kosher, with only a ‘mi’ut’ [minority] that were found wanting.”

Rabbis should encourage their members to have mezuzot or tefillin checked again in the near future, regardless of where they were bought, because they can deteriorate over time, Dayan Gelley pointed out.

Earlier this year, Dayan Gelley, acting in a personal capacity, joined two other local rabbis on a committee set up to certify Torah scrolls, mezuzot and tefillin. To date, it has approved seven local scribes and two outlets, Chaim Books and Ateres Judaica.

The two other rabbis are Rabbi Gershon Hager of Beth Yisochor Dov (Hager’s) and Rabbi Shlomo Freshwater of the Sassover Synagogue.





Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive