Restaurant boycotts paper over domestic-violence story
A MANCHESTER kosher restaurant has pulled its advertising from a Jewish local newspaper, claiming it maligns the strictly Orthodox community.
Ushi Grosskopf, owner of Sweet and Sour in Prestwich and a Chasid from the Belz sect, was a regular advertiser with the Northern Jewish Telegraph, spending what he says was an average of £500 a month.
But he has told the JC that he temporarily stopped advertising in October, after he objected to an article about Belz Chasidim.
He made the boycott permanent two weeks ago after the newspaper carried an advertisement from Jewish Women’s Aid, which pictured a cup for ritual handwashing ( netilat yadaim) with a caption suggesting it was used as an instrument for domestic violence.
Mr Groskopf said he felt the advert implied that domestic violence was more widespread in the religious community than elsewhere, and made inappropriate use of a religious image.
He said: “No one’s saying the community is 100 per cent perfect, but there are different ways of advertising this. [Editor] Paul Harris came to my shop and said: ‘I want you to advertise’. I said I won’t. He keeps trying to call, but I can’t be bothered. I’m sick of it.”
Mr Harris denied knowledge of any rift, saying: “They have cancelled no advertising at all.”
Abigail Morris, director of Jewish Women’s Aid, said she had spoken to a Lubavitch rabbi in Manchester who acknowledged that domestic violence in the Orthodox community mirrored that of the general population, adding: “One in four women will experience domestic violence at some point.”
There had been strong criticism of the JWA advert in the Jewish Tribune, she said, adding: “This was a real shame. I find it quite surprising that they [the strictly Orthodox] think that domestic violence doesn’t take place in that community. We say that it happens in the most unlikely and most upsetting of circumstances.”
The instance of the netilat yadaim cup in the advert “was based on a true story. The upsetting and painful thing is that someone would use something sacred to commit a violent act.”