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.”

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