July 1, 2013

Some Christians Misunderstand Kosher Independent Stores

MONSEY, NY — When a group of Christians marched single file into Rockland Kosher last Friday as a protest against “segregated” stores in the community, none were more surprised than the management and shoppers. Organized by Rev. Weldon McWilliams IV of the First Baptist Church in Spring Valley, the intent of the protest, he said, was to let the Hasidic community know that “we are here, and we are not going anywhere.”While the trigger might have been other issues such as the Hasidic-run East Ramapo school board, Rev. Williams said the act of patronizing the local kosher market was symbolic of promoting the ideal that both communities can co-exist peacefully. 

Whatever the motive of the group, community leaders were hard-pressed to understand why the large kosher supermarket was targeted. The community leaders told KosherToday that they absolutely welcome any non-Jew to shop in stores in Hasidic areas. They pointed out that the kosher independent stores were not designed to segregate shoppers or for that matter to create “ghetto stores” but that the need for the stores were largely driven by kashrus issues. They pointed to the special certification of Hasidic rabbis that often follow standards that are above those promulgated by mainstream kashrus organizations. 

The soon to open Evergreen kosher market in Town Square on Route 59 is touting the great lengths it went to in securing leading rabbis to supervise its kashrus and oversee vegetable checking. One of the developers of the new market said: “We know that non-Jews prefer many kosher products and we certainly would like to see them in our store as well.”