Upper West Side Synagogue bans smoked fish

Something fishy is going on at an ultra-liberal synagogue on the Upper West Side.

The B’Nai Jeshurun ​​congregation on West 88th Street rescinded the lox – then wavered its decree after realizing it was swimming against the tide of public opinion.

Rabbi Shuli Passow, the synagogue’s director of community engagement, told congregants in a Sept. 8 post that fish would be removed from its dining options so “we can do our part to reduce the environmental impact of pollution and overfishing”.

One kibitzer online dubbed the move a “loxdown” and another mused “What are they going to ban next, gefilte fish?”

“It’s a little meshugga, a little meshugga,” said Gary Greengrass, third-generation owner of famed Barney Greengrass smoked fish emporium on the Upper West Side. “There are other things to focus on.”

Emily Caslow, a member of the fourth-generation property of Brooklyn-based Acme Smoked Fish — the city’s largest supplier — and an Upper West Sider resident, quickly stepped forward to brief the synagogue on the origins some salmon.

“I contacted them to let them know that the information shared about the lox was inaccurate,” Caslow said.

On Monday, the synagogue issued a “correction,” saying it was unaware that most lox were made from farmed Atlantic salmon.

The synagogue said it rejected the lox over environmental concerns.
Stefano Giovannini

“We thank those who brought this error to our attention, giving us the opportunity to correct our error,” the synagogue wrote in a post on its website.

“Second, some felt that we had implied that eating lox was immoral or that BJ was boycotting lox or lox suppliers. This couldn’t be further from the truth,” the statement read.

Lox can now be served if worshipers shell out for kiddush, a light meal after Sabbath services in which bagels and various toppings are traditionally served.

But there was a catch.

The synagogue said it would refrain from offering the savory specialty when paying for kiddush, now citing rising costs and ‘our desire to include more plant-based offerings in community meals’ .

New York Post

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