Sunday, February 06, 2005

Leah Eshetu claims she was fired from her job at a kosher restaurant in Arad by Rabbi Raphael Bousi for one reason: she was black

20 Comments:

At 10:59 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1107400723363

Feb. 4, 2005
Ethiopian wins suit against religious council
By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER

Leah Eshetu, an Ethiopian woman who claimed she was fired from her job at an Arad restaurant solely because of her race, was awarded NIS 115,000 in damages and lawyers fees by the Beersheba Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

Eshetu sued the Arad Religious Council and Rabbi Raphael Bousi after he came to inspect Felafel Mehadrin and, she swore in an affidavit, announced that she couldn't work at the kosher restaurant because "it is forbidden for you to touch the food."

Sephardi Halacha, as explained by Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger's office, requires all cooks at a food establishment to be Jewish if the place is to receive a kashrut certificate. Eshetu underwent a conversion ceremony when she arrived in Israel 20 years ago.

The Arad Religious Council offered no defense in response to the suit, and therefore cannot ask the court to cancel the ruling, noted Jasmin Keshet, a lawyer representing Eshetu from The Tebeka Center for Legal Aid and Advocacy for Ethiopian Jews.

Bousi, however, did challenge the suit and will be given a hearing. Keshet indicated that the case against him may be dropped if the council pays the full award.

Keshet welcomed the judgment as setting an important precedent and boosting the Ethiopian community.

"It gives them a better feeling that bad behavior like that of the council and the rabbi is not ignored in Israel, and there's hope that such behavior will be changed because of this ruling," she said.

 
At 11:04 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

Arad religious council sued for racism
by HILARY LEILA KRIEGER
August 13, 2004
The Jerusalem Post

Leah Eshetu, an Ethiopian woman who was fired from a kosher Arad felafel shop because she was deemed not Jewish, made good on her threat to take the matter to court when she filed a NIS 100,000 suit against the the rabbi involved and the local religious council this week.

One hour after she began working at "Felafel Mehedrin" on May 18, Rabbi Raphael Bousi arrived and, without asking any questions about her religion, announced that she couldn't work at the kosher restaurant because "it is forbidden for you to touch the food," the suit charges.

Despite her insistence that she is Jewish and the backing of another Arad rabbi, Avraham Shay, she was unable to get the decision reversed, after which she was dismissed. The 43-year-old mother of three has been out of work ever since.

The case, filed in the Beersheba Magistrate's Court, charges that she lost her job purely on the basis of her skin color.

"It is untenable in an enlightened society such as ours that a public official should feel comfortable unabashedly engaging in discriminatory practices against a member of the minority," a statement prepared by the Tebeka Center for Legal Aid and Advocacy for Ethiopian Jews, which is representing Eshetu, declared. "Did the government of Israel bring Ethiopian Jews halfway around the world in order to relegate them to second-class citizens?"

Bousi and other representatives of the Arad religious council could not be reached for comment.

In May, Itzik Dessie of Tebeka noted that Eshetu had undergone a conversion ceremony when she arrived from Ethiopia 20 years ago, so there should be no question of her religious status.

Also in May, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger's spokesman explained that according to Sephardi Halacha, for a restaurant to receive a kashrut certificate, all those who cook must be Jewish. In the Ashkenazi halachic tradition, a Jew must turn on the fire, but non-Jews may cook.

 
At 11:07 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

Ethiopian woman sues restaurant, rabbi for discrimination
by HILARY LEILA KRIEGER
May 25, 2004
The Jerusalem Post

The law organization representing Leah Eshetu, the Ethiopian woman who was fired from a kosher Arad felafel shop because she was deemed not Jewish, on Monday promised to sue both the rabbi and the restaurant.

"Any official who acts as a racist or a discriminator can't serve the community," declared lawyer Itzik Dessie of the Tebeka Center for Legal Aid and Advocacy for Ethiopian Jews, of Rabbi Rafael Bousi, whom he identified as responsible for Eshetu's dismissal.

Eshetu lost her job last Tuesday after working only one hour when the rabbi arrived to inspect the restaurant and determined that she wasn't Jewish and therefore not allowed by Jewish law to serve as a cook, Dessie said.

He added that Eshetu was forced to go through the conversion process when she arrived from Ethiopia 20 years ago so there should be no question about her religious status, even though he acknowledged that he does not know what kind of proof she will be able to offer.

Dessie said the suit will be filed in the next two weeks, and that the amount of damages sought has yet to be determined.

Bousi could not be reached for comment.

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger's spokesman explained that according to Sephardi Halacha, for restaurants to receive kashrut certificate, all those who cook must be Jewish. In the Ashkenazi Halachic tradition, a Jew must turn on the fire, but non-Jews may cook. He added that naturally if Eshetu went through a conversion ceremony, she's Jewish.

 
At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

not because she was black - but because he thought she wasn't Jewish

 
At 12:27 PM, Blogger Ulricii said...

Same thing in this case. He assumed she wasn't Jewish because she was black.

 
At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worse. He assumed she was Ethiopian and did *not* care whether she had converted or not. In other words, all Ethiopian Jews are goyyim even if they have converted.

The rabbi is a racist.

 
At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was me on the comment above.

Shmarya

 
At 4:54 PM, Blogger yeshivaguy said...

Of course it was you. You're the only one who leaps to assumptions that way; at least when they reflect badly on rabbis.

 
At 6:37 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>yeshivaguy said...
>Of course it was you. You're the only one who leaps to
>assumptions that way; at least when they reflect badly
>on rabbis.

I guess it's more important for you to attack Shmarya than the evil Rabbi Bousi CLEARLY did here.

What's your explanation? Rabbi Bousi's psychic ability to tell jew from non-jew was off? When he was presented with evidence of her conversion he simply "misunderstood"? Give me a break.

 
At 7:31 PM, Blogger yeshivaguy said...

My explanation is that he assumed she wasn't Jewish, as Anonymous said above.

 
At 8:01 PM, Blogger Ulricii said...

A question, yeshivaguy: Why do you think the Rabbi hasn't reversed his ruling in light of her ritual conversion when she made aleya from Ethiopia? He just seems to be "unavailable for comment." Any insight, from your viewpoint, on that? Why do YOU think he is sticking to his guns?

 
At 11:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have a horrible problem with racism in our communities. Just look at the issue of how sephardic Jews are treated when it comes to sending their children to schools such as Bais Yaakov.

 
At 12:34 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>yeshivaguy said...
>My explanation is that he assumed she wasn't Jewish,
>as Anonymous said above.

Please actually read:
(see above)
One hour after she began working at "Felafel Mehedrin" on May 18, Rabbi Raphael Bousi arrived and, without asking any questions about her religion, announced that she couldn't work at the kosher restaurant because "it is forbidden for you to touch the food," the suit charges.

Despite her insistence that she is Jewish and the backing of another Arad rabbi, Avraham Shay, she was unable to get the decision reversed, after which she was dismissed. The 43-year-old mother of three has been out of work ever since.

 
At 1:01 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>We have a horrible problem with racism in our
>communities. Just look at the issue of how sephardic
>Jews are treated when it comes to sending their children
>to schools such as Bais Yaakov.

The sad fact is that there are Jewish schools that have quotas limiting the numbers of certain groups of Jews that are admitted too the schools and in some cases those groups just aren't admitted at all to some of these schools.

The group in question? Sephardim. The reason: their skin color just isn't white enough.

In some communities there are people of substance that fight for these children. However in too many communities this racism is known, tolerated and no one stands up for these children.

It's despicable.

More to come.

 
At 6:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sick and tired of how the community that I reside refer to people of color. You know when they talk about the "goyim" they are talking about African Americans.

When they talk about people from Latin America, you would think they are talking about the scum of the Earth. It's sickening!

If we are supposed to be the light on to the nations, it's about time we start embracing everyone and their differences.

 
At 6:52 AM, Blogger yeshivaguy said...

"A question, yeshivaguy: Why do you think the Rabbi hasn't reversed his ruling in light of her ritual conversion when she made aleya from Ethiopia?"

I'd guess because he's a typical damn fool Israeli, who can't admit when he made a mistake. Have you ever dealt with these people? I don't see anywhere in the article that racism had anything to do with it. I'm not saying it didn't; I'm just saying there are other explanations.

 
At 7:48 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>I'd guess because he's a typical damn fool Israeli, who
>can't admit when he made a mistake. Have you ever dealt
>with these people?

I'm dealing with you right now. I guess it's a problem not unique to Israelis.

 
At 8:27 AM, Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

I think all Francs are racists (LOL)

 
At 10:02 AM, Blogger yeshivaguy said...

"I'm dealing with you right now. I guess it's a problem not unique to Israelis."

Give me a break. In any contest of mulishness, you'd take the blue ribbon.

 
At 4:36 PM, Blogger Ulricii said...

You may be right, yeshivaguy, he may just be a stubborn Israeli who refuses to admit his mistake.

But I don't think anything you've suggested to explain his behavior completely gets him off the hook of racism. Even in your best of defense, he ASSUMED that she wasn't Jewish. And why did he make that assumption and then--again in the best of interpretations--thoughtlessly act on it? Because she was black.

You may even be right that all of us bystanding critics should give him the benefit of every doubt available. But all of those available doubts don't excuse his precipitous, and to this point uncorrected, ruling.

 

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