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Friday, October 14, 2005


This week's edition of the Forward has an article about a couple who is suing their wedding caterer for breach of contract. Apparently, they made a request that the caterer not serve any shellfish at the sushi bar, use only kosher meats, and keep all the food nondairy to avoid mixing meat and dairy.
The Siegels are suing their caterer, beltway institution Ridgewells Inc., for breach of contract, fraud, battery and infliction of severe emotional distress.

According to the Siegels' attorney, Alyza Lewin, the couple had specifically requested a sushi bar that included only tuna, salmon and vegetables.

...After the ceremony, the mother of the groom "came over to the bride's mother and told her, 'There's shrimp on the sushi bar,'" Lewin said in an interview with the Forward. The offending sushi was then removed but was replaced with sushi containing eel and octopus, which also are not kosher. The suit alleges that Mark Siegel, who served as the White House liaison to the Jewish community during the Carter administration, went to the kitchen to complain — only to find a tray of salmon toast prepared with cream cheese, even though the event was supposed to be nondairy to avoid violation of the religious prohibition against mixing milk and meat.
I think this story trumps the one of my mother-in-law coming over to my mother in the middle of my wedding to complain that the flowers weren't exactly as she ordered them.

The only problem with the Siegel's complaint of the caterer's bait-and-switch move, is that the article seems to paint the Siegels as guilty of their own version of bait-and-switch:
One guest at the wedding, who did not want to be named for fear of offending the Siegels, told the Forward that she keeps kosher and had originally believed that all the food at the wedding was prepared according to the laws of kashrut.

Rabbi Jeffrey Wohlberg, who officiated at the ceremony and serves as religious leader of Washington's Conservative congregation Adas Israel, said he ate dinner at the party with the understanding that the food was kosher. He also said that he doesn't eat at weddings that are not kosher.
Ignorance is bliss, I guess. Well, I hope the Rabbi enjoyed the eel and octopus at least.

And as the Siegel's lawyer put it, they were just trying to impress the in-laws.
Lewin said that by ordering kosher meat and insisting that no explicitly trayf food be served, the Siegels were trying to make a "goodwill gesture towards the groom's family."

The Siegels, she said, wanted to "make this good impression and that's [what is] hard."
Sadly, I don't think they succeeded.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was an extensive discussion of this already at the KosherBlog: http://www.kosherblog.net/index.php/2005/09/06/caterer_serves_treyf_at_41_000_kosher_we

Unfortunately, the discussion degenerated into Conservative vs. Orthodox and the comments had to be closed...

4:47 PM  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Reminds me of the kosher fund raising cruise a few years back, full of rabbanim and the like - someone walked into the kitchen and saw butter being used. He asked, if it was pareve butter, and then realized that everything was treif!

Or how about the wedding in Israel 3 years ago, where during the wedding, the security camera caught a burglar stealing the newlywed couple's checks from the hall's safe, and the theif was bride's father...

6:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha, Ha!

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait--they're suing for BATTERY ???!!!???

Their palates were assaulted, perhaps?

8:59 PM  
Blogger Shifra said...

Technically, I don't think eel or octopus is shellfish...
It's all pretty lame anyway.
If they wanted it to be kosher they should have hired a kosher caterer.

11:40 PM  
Blogger Conservative Apikoris said...

It's all pretty lame anyway.
If they wanted it to be kosher they should have hired a kosher caterer.

Ah, but you don't understand the comnbination of DC yuppiedom and Conservative Judaism. DC yuppies insist on high-class catering. No gefilte fish chicken soup and kishksa for these folks. And ,mamy conservative Jews, even some who keep kosher, oppose patronizing establishments with orthodox certification on a matter of principle. I know of one person who is a vegetarian becuase he doesn't want to support the Orthodox va'ad, but there's no butcher in town with Conservative certificiation.

I persoanlly dislike the whole idea of kashrut certification, as I think it leads to abuses that are far worse sins tha eating a little treif, but given this experience, I understand why people might want it.

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DC's got a great va'ad. Those who would oppose supporting it "on principle" are anti-semites "on principle."

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12:33 AM  

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