May 21, 2019

Houston Bakery Chooses to Stay Open on Passover; Loses Certification

Houston...A kosher bakery open on Passover, openly selling chametz, and pleading for mercy based on their suffering during Hurricane Harvey? Bobby and Janice Jucker, owners of the iconic Three Brothers Bakery, should have expected no less than the removal of their kosher certification from the local kashrus agency. The widely reported story missed the central point in this episode: The Juckers chose to violate one of the basic laws of Judaism by being open on Passover and no degree of compassion could have spared them from the correct decision of the Houston Kashruth Association (HKA) to remove their kosher certification. Instead of the story focusing on a kosher bakery that violated the prohibition of eating and selling chametz on Passover, the story was about three Holocaust survivor brothers who recently suffered from the ravages of Hurricane Harvey. Kosher Today has learned that the HKA has bent over backwards to help them overcome the huge financial losses from Harvey. One kashrus official said that the violation of selling chametz on Passover and asking for understanding is no different from the young man who killed his parents and asked the judge for mercy based on the fact that he was now an orphan. A local rabbi told Kosher Today that many of the customers who patronize the iconic Houston bakery do not care about the bakery’s policy of staying open on Passover “but once they opted for kosher certification, they expanded their business and then spat on those customers.” It is estimated that 20% - 30% of their customers valued the kosher certification.