Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, focusing primarily on wines that are either kosher or Israeli.
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Craig Winchell

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Re: Jezebel: How does it work?

by Craig Winchell » Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:39 pm

I recall sometime in the mid '90s that I was dining at Levana, which at that time served nonmevushal wine (those who have heard this, forgive me for rehashing it). I had a bottle of '86 GAN EDEN Cab at the table, thanks to the superior cellar that Levana used to have. In any case, they knew who I was, there, because I came in every trip to New York. Anyway, the manager wanted to be funny, so he picked up my open bottle and said, "Gan Eden, never heard of it" to which I told him he could bring me another bottle (I think they were $85 each at the time). Other times, glasses were indeed moved to make room, but often with something less expensive. Bottom line is that either glasses or bottles or both were treifed up with some frequency. that is not why Levana ceased in serving nonmevushal wine. A sting operation shut down that facet of the restaurant. A Jewish plant by the rabbis ordered a bottle of nonmevushl wine, which was brought to the table in the required manner, unopened. The Jew had people with him, and insisted that he should be served the wine. The waiter refused, but gave in when the party said they were leaving, and would never return. the waiter felt he was helping the owner avoid an embarassing situation, whereas he was just being set up. I'm ashamed to say it, but I know people who could well be that Jewish agent, in terms of their desire to look important. It could have eventually happened on its own at some random time. I feel it is silly for the rabbis to have planted a provocateur, but I can unfortunately see their point.
Last edited by Craig Winchell on Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Adam M

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Re: Jezebel: How does it work?

by Adam M » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:06 pm

Very revealing of how tough it is to succeed in the premium kosher restaurant business.

I'm sure the two operators of the business thought that the more kashrut demanding observant client that would not patronize the restaurant would be more than offset by the non-Jewish hipster crowd.

After enjoying myself on a Saturday night a few months ago, I could see the logic of this premise.

But it seems that this logic has been turned upside down.

Why??

Could the food have been better to hold the inflow of non-kosher clientele??

Was the operating budget really that bloated relative to other trendy non-kosher establishments??

In either or both of these two cases, there is still hope for a successful against-the-grain kosher restaurant and lounge.

What I fear, though, is that - too put it blunty so as to not mince and words - the OU effectively directly or indirectly put the "kabach" on Jezebel's provocative dining concept.

Thoughts???
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Gabriel W

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Re: Jezebel: How does it work?

by Gabriel W » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:44 pm

J Soho? SoHo lame!

Anyway,Craig and Elie, based off of everything that I have studied, lifting up a bottle or moving a glass is at most only a problem B'dieved. The issue is "shichshuch" and simply moving a glass isn't shichshuch.
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Jonathan K

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Re: Jezebel: How does it work?

by Jonathan K » Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:54 pm

Gabriel W wrote:J Soho? SoHo lame!

Anyway,Craig and Elie, based off of everything that I have studied, lifting up a bottle or moving a glass is at most only a problem B'dieved. The issue is "shichshuch" and simply moving a glass isn't shichshuch.


Ok- I have been off the board for awhile and am just tuning in to this. A couple of questions.

1. Why would a kashrut organization care about the name of your restaurant (unless I am misunderstanding it and changing the name had nothing to do with that)?
2. I am familiar with the terms "L'chatchilla" and "B'dieved" but shichshuch is a new one. What pray tell does that mean (perhaps something to do with how far an open wine bottle can be moved by a non-
Jew or non-observant Jew before it becomes unacceptable)?
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Craig Winchell

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Re: Jezebel: How does it work?

by Craig Winchell » Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:03 pm

Hi Jonathan:

Kashrus agencies care about names. Not always enough to press for a name change, but often others will do that. I remember when I first decided to name my restaurant "Porkless Pete's", my son's former Rosh Yeshiva and several family friends told us they wouldn't eat there with a name like that, and that they would express their concern to the community. At issue was the word "Pork" in "Porkless", even though the word meant the absence of the offensive word. And one hashgacha told us that they wouldn't stop the hashgacha from going through, but they advised us against using it, while the other, my rabbi, said he couldn't give hashgacha with the name, and so the sign said "Smokin'!" instead. In the same way, but probably more so, Jezebel was one of the most evil creatures in biblical literature, analogous to my "pork", only worse.

As I understand it, shichshuch refers to shaking.
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Joshua London

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Re: Jezebel: How does it work?

by Joshua London » Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:39 pm

Jonathan K wrote:2. I am familiar with the terms "L'chatchilla" and "B'dieved" but shichshuch is a new one. What pray tell does that mean (perhaps something to do with how far an open wine bottle can be moved by a non-Jew or non-observant Jew before it becomes unacceptable)?

As mentioned, shichshuch is generally understood as agitation ['with the fingers,' in the original context, for the purposes of nisuch or "libation"]. The term's importance comes from its use in the Talmud (tractate Avoda Zorah) to describe the libation actions of a non-Jew that would render Jewish wine forbidden.

Purposeful action to or upon the wine itself (technically just the wine, not the open bottle) by a non-Jew renders the wine forbidden for use -- by g'zeira this applies to all non-Jews, whether they are idolatrous or not [note: the Teshuvas Harashba equates a mumar l'challel Shabbos b'farhesya with a non-Jew as far as these halachas are concerned; this is the generally accepted opinion which is why most rabbonim generally include all non-observant Jews in this area of concern; though there is room for leniency -- and obviously they often shy away from stating this so clearly so as not to offend].

The Shulchan Aruch (YD 125:1) rules that if a non-Jew pours wine, both the wine that was poured and whatever remains in the bottle become prohibited. [The Rema agrees, though permits the remaining wine in the bottle in cases of large financial loss; the Shach and the Chachmas Adam argue that the remaining wine and even the wine poured are permitted in cases of any financial loss -- this is not the prevailing opinion, but seems to be supported by Igros Moshe (YD vol. 2: 51 - I think), so there is likely room for leniency].

On top of all of this, there is an even more stringent opinion (just custom, not law; more in vogue in the chareidi world than in the MO world) that the mere gaze of a non-Jew upon the wine renders the wine not fit for use (mentioned by Harav Menachem Habavli, quoted by Darchei Teshuvah, and I think it only applied to actual idolators...can't recall now). So between the chumros and the varying levels of observance, don't expect the mevushal requirements to change anytime soon.
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