Kosher Food Stall Denied Spot At British Market In England For Not Opening On Shabbat

A view of the Manchester Christmas Market (Manchester Christmas Market via Facebook)

MANCHESTER (JTA) — A kosher restaurant in England was not allowed to have a stall at a market because it refused to open on Shabbat.

The owner of Ta’am Grill and Deli in Prestwich alleged discrimination after the organizers of the Christmas market in Manchester nixed its booth.

“The Manchester Jewish community has nowhere kosher to eat in the city center, permanent or not,” owner Martine Vaizman told the Jewish Telegraph. “We can’t even feel normal at the Christmas Markets because there is not one food stall we can eat at.”

The Manchester City Council said vendors at the market had to agree to stay open for the entirety of the event.

“Although we understand that this was due to religious restrictions on work on those days, the trader had originally agreed for their stall to be open throughout,” a spokesman for the council told the Jewish Telegraph. “It would be detrimental to the wider market for any stall to close on two of the busiest days throughout the season.”

Most kosher restaurants close from Friday to Saturday evening to avoid violating prohibitions against doing work on Shabbat.

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    • Haven’t you ever heard of the old-time yeridim (fairs), where many Jews did business, and some of which were so heavily attended by Jews that rabbonim and community leaders held sessions there? (Look up the Vaad Arba Aratzos, for example.) Those fairs were run by the local non-Jewish gentry, and often were timed to coincide with one or another Christian holiday.

      The market under discussion here is exactly the same thing.

  1. As an attorney, I’ve represented many tenants in negotiating leases for stores in big malls in the New York City area. I have yet to encounter a lease in these shopping centers which allows for a store to be Shomer Shabbos. All leases generally require stores to be open seven days per week.

  2. Shame on the Manchester authorities, for this blatant discrimination. I spoke to a visitor from the UK, who spent some time in the USA. He told me that he was amazed that at Chanukah time, the local tv stations, as well as the network/cable channels, would wish the viewers a “Happy Chanukah”. He stated that never happens in the UK. Do I need to say more?

  3. Please! Enough! They could have made a Halachic arrangement with a gentile to keep the store open over Shabes as long as the guy would keep all the profits from the outset of Shabes Friday night until its end on Shabes night!
    It’s done all the time. So stop this needles farce!

  4. This is standard procedure in nearly all malls, to have the stores open 7 days a week. The Kosher store signed the lease saying they would remain open 7 days a week and then they cant uphold their agreement.

    If it is so worthwhile for them to open a kosher store there, then there would be a permanent kosher store in the area.


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