The cafe at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly is seeking new kashrut supervision after a disagreement with the Rabbinical Council of Bergen County.
On Wednesday morning, the RCBC withdrew its certificate of supervision.
According to a statement issued by the JCC, the withdrawal was “without warning or advance notice and unrelated to any rules of Kashruth or food service.”
“The issue is still ongoing. We’re not going to comment until we finish addressing the issue,” said Rabbi Chaim Poupko, president of the council and associate rabbi at Congregation Ahavath Torah in Englewood. The council is an organization of the county’s Orthodox pulpit rabbis.
“It was a personnel matter,” said Dorit Reiner, who owns and runs the cafe. “It has nothing to do with kashrut laws or food safety or anything. All the food that’s being served now complies with all the standards of kashrut we’ve had in the past. Nothing changed as far as we are concerned. We’re working on getting a new organization” to provide supervision.
Meanwhile, according to the JCC, an independent experienced supervisor is in place.
“The JCC has been and continues to be committed to providing a kosher restaurant, where those who are observant feel comfortable to eat,” the statement continues. “As its mission states, the JCC looks to serve as a vibrant home for the Jewish people and welcomes all with a vision to be the center point for Jewish life in our community.”
Rabbi Akiva Block defended the RCBC’s decision in a letter to his congregation, Kehilat Kesher Community Synagogue of Tenafly and Englewood.
“Please rest assured that decisions like this, particularly regarding communal institutions like the JCC, are not taken lightly,” he wrote. “The RCBC, which consists of over 30 Orthodox rabbis from all across Bergen County and for whom I am privileged to serve as an officer, seeks to service our community in the greatest and most efficient manner possible while maintaining the strict kashrut supervision and standards our community deserves and has come to expect.”