Did I make a faux pas?
- PuniceaRana Mar 30, 2014 03:15 PM
I don't quite know whom to ask regarding this situation. I was in charge of a large gathering/celebration in my community. As the attendees of the celebration were a mixed group, some kept kosher, some not, some Orthodox, some conservative, some reform, and others who were not Jewish. The event was held at a local community center and we had it catered by the best kosher caterer in the county. (who prepared the food in their place, we did not use the kitchen at the community center at all.) I personally drove over a half hour each way to pick up the huge cake from the best kosher bakery around. In case there were any questions I made sure to photograph the kosher certificates at the bakery as well as the caterers establishment. I even had the assistance/advice of the local Rabbi to ensure every base was covered.
The event was last night (began after shabbos) Most every one raved about everything, the location, the food, the decor, etc. Everyone except one man, who complained rather loudly that there was nothing he could eat, as it "was not kosher enough" The Rabbi who advised me quickly went to the gentleman, and told him everything was ok, and kosher, and got from me copies of all of the certifications to show the gentleman. The man took one look at the certifications and said that since the certificate was signed by a Rabbi who was from a conservative yeshiva, it was not "kosher enough" Mind you, there were many other attendees who are Orthodox, including one Rabbi, who all ate and said everything was wonderful and approved it all as kosher and fine. (I had asked the Orthodox Rabbi about the certificates and for both the caterer and bakery, and HE said they were "fine, good" before I hired them for the event.)
I really thought I had my bases covered, and wanted to make sure as the host, that since the event would have a mixture of attendees, I would not be offending anyone, and would be providing not only a wonderful evening/celebration, but cater to all the various food requirements. (some attendees had food allergies as well as dietary requirements, and some were vegetarian as well as kosher)
So, did I commit a faux pas, or is it as one close friend who was helping me with the event say, "some people just want to complain, and will create a reason to complain just to get attention"?
I'm sorry if this was upsetting but there is a clear policy on this board not to comment on the acceptability/quality of kosher supervision as it quickly goes off topic and may become negative. The fact of a single complaint at your event illustrates the problems that comments on this topic might raise. I hope that in any event you enjoyed the event and received many compliments for your hard work!
Firstly, a huge thank you to all who responded, I am forever grateful for all that took to time to respond and assist.
I am sorry that I may not have been as clear as I could have been. I was very worn out from planning and hosting the celebration, I am afraid my brain was mush as I wrote. I want to be clear, I was not asking for anyone to critique the behavior of the guest, nor to ask if the event was, for lack of a better/easier was to explain it, "kosher enough" I came to ask if I had missed something, or did something wrong. We were also dealing with a language barrier, as the gentleman with the issue was not fluent in English, and I am not fluent in the Russian dialect that is his native tongue. To quote him he was saying the food was "not right kosher" The Rabbi who was assisting with the man was trying his best to act as an interpreter, from what I could tell they were speaking a mixture of Russian and Hebrew.
As circumstances are presently, I am in the position of being the hostess for several upcoming events and celebrations, at which many of the attendees of the event I was speaking about will also be invited. Our extended family and community include pretty much all of the diversity present within the Jewish community. Represented are reform, conservative and Orthodox as well as a local Rabbinical College - a Chabad Lubavitch Chasidic Yeshiva. (not to forget dear friends, neighbors and friends of other faiths) My desire is to host events where all invitees will be comfortable and feel welcomed, and I was looking for input to assist me in making sure I accomplish my goals. While I am well familiar with keeping a kosher home, what I grew up with was neither Orthodox nor Chasidic, though through extended family and school/social contexts I did have some exposure to those. I want to ensure that future events meet all the needs/expectations specific to all who attend, no matter the affiliation.
If you are in Morris County, NJ I can personally attest that kashrut there can be confusing. I was once at an event there at which I was supposed to receive a kosher meal and I did not. A non-kosher caterer was supposed to subcontract from a kosher caterer to get some packaged kosher meals for those in attendance that kept kosher and instead they made the "kosher meals" themself. Sounds like in your case your guest was simply confused.
I can't comment as to whether or not it was "kosher enough," but I'm in the camp that says some people will always find something to complain about.
Given your efforts and the fact that everyone else seemed to enjoy the meal? I'd say you did an awesome job -- mazeltov on a wonderful event!!
If the local Rav approved of the kashrus of the event it would be disrespectful to publicly complain (even if one personally disagrees).
I keep certain hiddurim in kashrus, and I might inquire about specifics of the kashrus, but even if I ended up in a position where there wasn't anything I could eat there, I would just smile and enjoy the simcha without eating. The same would apply if I didn't want to eat the food for some other reason. If I just didn't like the flavor or cuisine would it be appropriate to Kvetch? I don't think so.
You asked the local Orthodox rabbi beforehand. He approved of everything you did. That's all you could have done. There is always going to be someone finding something to complain about.