August 6, 2012

No Moment of Silence and No Kosher Food

The 2012 Olympics in London will be remembered by many as the Olympics that refused to grant a moment of silence in memory of the 11 Israeli athletes killed in Munich forty years ago. But if the IOC showed that it lacked any semblance of compassion and tolerance, the London organizers also showed that they missed out on showing the world their appreciation for diversity.  

Various newspaper reports suggested that the local Jewish community was hoping that none other than McDonald’s would come through. After all, McDonald’s, a major sponsor of the Olympics, has considerable experience with kosher in Israel and with Glatt Kosher in Buenos Aires. 

But that’s where it gets a bit confusing, according to the newspaper reports. Rabbi Mendel Cohen, director at Chabad of Shoreditch in East London, said that “although there would be no kosher kitchen for the athletes, kosher food would be available for any that requested it. Warm kosher lunches, would be available to both athletes and the general public, for purchase at the various Olympic venues across the east of the city. 

A spokesperson from the Olympics press office was “confident that we have made provisions for spectators who follow Halal and kosher diets,” and certainly the BBC reported back with good news. In the Olympic Village, where 16,000 athletes and coaches reside temporarily, a media review of the dining area reveals “rows of serving counters under colorful signs proclaiming a commonwealth of catering such as Indian, African and Caribbean, halal, Mediterranean, kosher.

”Bottom line, there appeared to have been an attempt to blow a great deal of smoke as to whether kosher was available. Londoners will tell you that it is not, but still at least one is not surprised in a country that had periodically sought to tamper with kosher slaughter (schechita). 

As far as I am concerned no medals for that IOC or the London organizers. Too bad New York lost the bid!