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2009 Kosher Travel Guide
The Liquor Bar At Glatt Kosher Affairs -I read with genuine interest the first person story entitled Forbidden Wines (KASHRUS, March 2009, p.48) that were served at a glatt kosher affair held in a non-kosher hotel. I will soon explain, but first I would like to pose the following questions to foster an open discussion and clarification of the issues.
Does it seem reasonable that a host would go to the expense of arranging for a lavish glatt kosher affair, if he knows that there was a 1% chance of his guest being served non-kosher wine?
Would anyone take a chance, as your report suggests does sometimes occur, ...that the bartender will grab some milk and use it instead of the pareve milk, may use his own non-kosher knife to slice the lemons and limes, may switch kosher wines and liquors for non-kosher wines and liquors?
Wouldn’t it seem that all glatt kosher caterers, were they to join with their certifying agencies, would have enough leverage to control the flow of wine and liquor at catered affairs in non-kosher halls? Don’t kosher affairs generate revenue for the hotel?
Are there no other halls available to service a large event that would be fully respectful of our concerns?
Upon signing a contract, does the caterer have the host sign a waiver regarding the 1% factor, stating the host realizes that the caterer and his hashgacha cannot guarantee the kashrus of the bar?
When our community elected to go glatt, wasn’t the fundamental goal to eliminate all questionable issues, to have the peace of mind of the caterer being compliant to the full range of detail from the bugs to mixing fish and meat to the kashrus of wine and liquor?
Something tells me that the liquor is not the only area of concern in a non-kosher setting. If it were, then locking the cabinets with the mashgiach holding the key would solve the whole problem and someone would have done it by now. Or, wouldn’t an increase in the number of mashgichim completely eliminate the exposure?
No, I think that there are more issues that the public does not know yet about non-kosher halls being used for glatt affairs.
Enough questions. Now for my personal experience. Just as was the author of your original article, I too am FFB (frum from birth) and have elected to submit this article anonymously for reasons that will be become clear to the reader.
This story took place a little over seven months ago. My good neighbor made a wedding at an upscale waterfront club, an easy drive from New York City. The hall was not part of the standard Williamsburg / Boro Park / Flatbush selection.
Since the affair was being held at a non-kosher hotel, I made it a point to call in advance to obtain the name of the caterer and learned that it was a most reliable one who has a nationally respected hashgacha.
I was elated that I could enjoy an expansive selection at the bar without having to worry about issues such as sherry casks and the like.
Upon arrival, I went to the bar, scanned the bottles, established that they all had proper certification, and identified the drink of my preference. It is a combination of sweet vermouth and scotch.
The bartender was familiar with it and mixed the drink. The taste was unlike any I had tasted before. It was outstanding!
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