Field of Dreams: if you build it, they will come!


A parable
March 17, 2013, 5:28 pm
Filed under: Opinion

jewish restaurant 2There was once a Jewish restaurant, moderately successful, and one of the things that attracted at least some of its customers was that it advertised itself as strictly kosher. That means much more, you understand, than that it did not serve pork chops or prawn cocktails. The kitchens were regularly inspected by the local Rabbi, who gave it a certificate saying that all food was being prepared in accordance with the rules of Torah.

Many of the regular customers were, naturally, observant Jews for whom the keeping of the dietary rules was a matter of religious obligation. Others were Jews of a more liberal attitude, who did not necessarily always keep the rules for religious reasons, but because they were part of their Jewish cultural identity. They liked to meet their more observant friends there, too. And there were even  non-Jews who just liked the decor and the friendly atmosphere of the restaurant, and enjoyed Jewish cooking now and then.

One day, the old manager retired, and the new temporary acting-manager said, “We would get a lot more customers if we dropped all those silly kosher rules, and became a general restaurant like others in our area. Anyway, it is insulting that we have to have the Rabbi in to inspect our kitchens, as if we cannot be trusted to maintain hygiene. Surely the local council health inspectorate is enough?”

So the kosher rules were dropped. But of course, the strictly observant Jews now had to go elsewhere to be sure that their food was kosher (luckily there was another Jewish restaurant, not too far away but in a less posh area). Some of the chefs too felt they must move to the other establishment (where they already did some part time work). And even some of the less observant Jews began to feel that there was less point in going to this place, if the Jewish dimension was dropped. And (because this was a time of recession, and the other restaurants in the area were already struggling for customers) the expected new clientele failed to materialise.

Qui legit, intellegit.

legal advice

jewish restaurant 1

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