This is the real tragedy

THE Manchester and Liverpool communities have this week been coming to terms with a tragedy. A kosher deli owner was alleged to have been selling non-kosher items and had his kashrut licence revoked at shops in both cities by the supervisory authorities in each. That members of the community might unwittingly have been consuming treife products, albeit with a hechsher, was not a tragedy. The thought that they had done so might have been deeply upsetting, but they had done nothing wrong, according to Jewish law. When they purchased products, they bore a genuine kashrut seal and, as such, were considered kosher.

Amid the entire crisis, which is likely to see Liverpool lose its final kosher outlet, many appear to have forgotten the real tragedy... the death of a young man, himself a devoted father, son and brother. We do not know the circumstances and can only speculate, but there has been some vile vitriol spouted on social media, unnecessarily vilifying the deceased deli owner, a popular figure by all accounts.

Those who may unwittingly have transgressed the dietary laws will survive the experience and should desist from taking to social media in the manner which many have. They are not venting their anger on a deceased man who is no longer here as their target but on those who have been left behind — an elderly mother, children and a sibling. What do they actually hope to achieve?

Whatever the merits or otherwise of the actions of two kashrut authorities, an announcement of condolence placed by Manchester Beth Din in this week’s Jewish Telegraph, and the presence at yesterday’s funeral of so many fellow owners of kosher stores and butchers speaks volumes for the popularity of Robert Kaye and should provide comfort to the family and the strength to ignore the ignorant comments of people who probably never knew him.

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