Monday, November 17, 2008

I Just Can't Afford It Anymore

To be an orthodox jew is to make sacrifices. No work on Saturdays, no eating in 99.9% of the restaurants in the world and exorbitant day school tuitions while still paying taxes for the rest of the town's kids to attend public school. High prices for kosher foods, high prices for synagogue membership and building funds for shuls and schools.
Recently, I decided to compare restaurant prices.
I started with fast food. I went to Kosher Experience on Cedar Lane. The world's smallest hamburger is $2.50. It's a medium sized bun with a two ounce patty that even the "Where's The Beef" lady from days gone by wouldn't believe. A chicken sandwich is a mere $8.50. Do you want fries with that? That'll be $2.75.
Then I drove up to Wendy's. For 99 cents each, you can have a chicken sandwich, a hamburger with a quarter pound of meat, a fries and a soda.
Okay, I know kosher food has some inherent additional costs, but it's getting to be ridiculous. In this economy especially, they're limiting their customers to only the wealthiest among us.
The RCBC is partly to blame. The Jewish Standard reported recently that to take on RCBC supervision costs a restaurant upwards of $60,000 a year.
The other issue is the fake "glatt kosher" requirement. Ashkenazic jews are not required to eat glatt kosher. Lately, companies are labeling chicken products as glatt kosher when that's not even a possibility. What is the fascination with "glatt?" Obviously, it's not required, so why are the RCBC, the OU and most other mainstream kashrut supervision agencies requiring it? How much money can the community save if this fake requirement went by the wayside?
Last week, I stopped by Glatt World on New Bridge Road in Bergenfield. The price for a pound of chopped meat was $5.49. At Pathmark, across the street, the non-kosher ground beef was $2.49 a pound. Sure we must pay a premium for kosher meat. But more than double?
The lone saving grace in all of this is the fish department at the Englewood Shop Rite. The fish in the kosher and non-kosher sections are the same price for the same item. Thank God for that one. Let them eat fish!!