Simon Sez

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Simon Sez

Sign on Beach Bakery door

...that Marc Schneier lied to him, and as a result, as of this morning, anything pur­chased from Beach Bakery Cafe will be, in the eyes of observant Jews, treif.

This unfortunate situation, according to E-mails, letters and posted notices, is as a result of a spat between proprietor Simon Jorna and the Hampton Synagogue's founding Rabbi dating to the the end of this August.

According to a notice from Jorna dated October 10th:

"After a disagreement with Rabbi Mark Schneier and Robert Fisher1 at the end of August, I realize that after 20 good years working together, there is no more honest support from the top of the Synagogue towards Beach Bakery.

Beach Bakery for that reason has decided to stop being kosher, starting November 15th, 2012 or earlier if so requested."

That was was the shot heard 'round the Orthodox com­munity in the Western Hamptons.

The first of two return volleys came Monday over the sig­nature of Assistant Rabbi Yechiel Shaffer:

"We have made the decision to terminate our (The Hamp­ton Synagogue) Kashrut Supervision of the Beach Bakery Cafe ... at the conclusion of business on Tuesday, Octo­ber 16, 2012."

The second volley came yesterday in the form of a mass E-mail encyclical to Synagogue congregants (also Web-post­ed) signed by Schneier and President Morris Tuchman:

"On Thursday, October 4, 2012 the proprietor of the Beach Bakery Cafe ... obtained approvals from the Village Board of Westhampton Beach to begin his renovation and expansion project. For many months now, the proprietor has made it clear that his new establishment will be non-kosher."

(If you think that was "Spin," read on!)

"Since an ongoing commitment by an establishment to Kashrut observance is essential for the integrity of our certifying it, and consistent with our duty and obligations to the Jewish community of Westhampton Beach, and the Jewish community at large, as of Wednesday morning, October 17, 2012, the Beach Bakery Cafe will no longer be under the Kosher Supervision of The Hampton Synagogue."

Um, okay... but here's the interesting part:

"We are pleased to inform you that in light of this develop­ment, several well known kosher establishments have now expressed their desire to open in the village. Our commit­ment is to have a new kosher establishment in place by Spring 2013."

(Translation: "We thought the little Kaaskop would fold! Opps!")

Bad planning of the part of Schneier and Tuchman to not already have a back-up in place.

In speaking with Jorna, he was asked if there was the faint odor of failed extortion surrounding the impasse?

"Absolutely not!" he replied. "We had a ten year relationship, and money was never an issue! It cost me $2,500 a year for the necessary kosher inspections and certification, and that was fine."

The tipping point?

"Rabbi Schneier at that [August] meeting lied to me and when I told him that I have never lied to him in 20 years and that he lied to me four times in five minutes, he just did not care."

It will be instructive to see how many observant congre­gants remain that way and resist the temptation to make stealth visits to Beach Bakery between now and Spring.

  1. Robert Fisher oversees the catering for the Synagogue.


1. Seeker said...

Perhaps something was already on the drawing board, and Simon's establishment was no longer needed?

Doesn't compute... if that were the case, the Synagogue's notice(s) would have made more specific references, but they didn't. It really looks like the Rabbi was caught off guard.

Also, look at that to which they are committing for "Spring 2013." Where?

Of course, when Susan Von Freddi dislodged Kara's from its long-time premises on Mill Road, one of the tenents she said she was seeking was a bakery. Two years vacant, she might be anxious enough to entertain a low-ball offer from the Synagogue.

2. Clamqueen said...

Oh the drama!

More small town machinations.

3. Hampton_West said...

Now that's a great way to get support for the eruv, Marc.

Irrelevant! Rabbi Schneier is out of the eruv conflict at the moment, and has been for more than four years.
– Dean

4. Martyn Meek said...

Luckily, I don't need the jelly-filled croissants to be kosher.

I understand perfectly! A plateful awaits your next visit to Westhampton Beach.

5. David Reilly said...

If my memory serves me correctly, when Simon was before the Planning Board, his plans specifically called for separate kosher and non-kosher areas, and I believe it was those plans that were ultimately approved in the recent resolution. Accordingly,the "second volley" you refer to does not seem to make much sense, unless Simon made a separate and contradictory representation to the Rabbi and Mr. Tuchman. As I have no skin in the game, I merely mention it for information purposes.

Your memory is correct, Dave... subsequent to your Planning Board's approval, the Village Attorney had Simon remove any such designation from what was ultimately approved by the Village Board because it was felt that the municipality should be not be putting its imprimatur on anything of a religious nature involving a commercial use.

6. WHBYankee said...

Wow! Simon, and the bakery, had a 20+ year relationship with the Rabbi, and the Synagogue... that's longer than the Rabbi's last four marriages put together. My guess is $$ was involved, or not enough with this result.

Good quip, but the "money involved," from my understanding, had to do with a catering exclusivity arrangement that the Rabbi abrogated.

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