Q. The Israeli High Court recently ruled* that the Israeli rabbinate cannot deny standard kosher certification to a bakery owned by a Jew who believes Jesus is the messiah. What is your opinion – was the rabbinate right in denying kosher certification to that establishment?
A. Let’s try an analogy. Could a Jewish school employ a so-called “messianic Jew” to teach religion? No, because what he/she taught would probably be unreliable from the Jewish point of view.
Could a “messianic Jew” be relied upon to run a kosher establishment? No, because the essence of a kosher license is halachic reliability. If a non-Jew runs a kosher facility their religious views are presumably irrelevant, but a “messianic Jew” might well have an axe to grind against halachic Judaism and might be looking out for an opportunity to undermine the rabbinate.
I support the Israeli rabbinic authorities in denying a kosher license in this instance.
* This article originally appeared in 2009.