Culture, Global

Treyfing Up The Place

Any of you kashrut experts have thoughts on this one?

Two ambulance attendants have been compensated $7,500 each for being prevented from eating their non-kosher lunches in a kosher cafe at the Montreal Jewish General Hospital.
In February 2005, Yvon Verreault and Ginette Gelasko brought a patient to the hospital and then decided to eat their brown-bag lunch at the hospital’s cafe. They were asked by the restaurant’s manager to eat their non-kosher lunch elsewhere.
After they refused, a security guard asked them to leave.

Full Story.

6 thoughts on “Treyfing Up The Place

  1. Bienvenue à Québec!
    So this is just one issue of several that have been in the Montreal/Quebec news for the last few months. The issue of “reasonable accommodation” has become huge here, focusing almost entirely on Jews and Muslims.
    The issue that you’ve posted isn’t, really, a kashrut issue as far as the Quebec media, or the human rights commission, is concerned; it’s a matter of equality. As a result of that case, the Jewish General Hospital now has a small “treyf” section in their cafeteria.
    Another issue to look at, that I’ve only seen mentioned in the French media, is that of the Jewish rehabilitation hospital in Laval. Here‘s the latest blurb; this particular news agency (affiliated with a French tv news station) has updated the story 4 or 5 times since Passover. (For those who don’t know French, the issue they’re reporting on is that this hospital is strictly kosher for Passover, and as such won’t allow non-Jewish patients to bring in their own chometz food. At this hospital, it’s estimated that only 20% of the patients are Jewish.) Further, as far as I can tell, no patient complained about this, though some were annoyed – it’s the media that’s picked up on it, and has made a big deal of it.
    I’ve blogged about a couple of the issues that have come up in the past few months. But it’s become such a heated topic that the recent provincial elections really hinged on topics of immigration, racism, and reasonable accommodation. And, in Montreal (and possibly in Quebec city too) there was a town hall-style meeting on the issue of reasonable accommodation, moderated by the CBC.
    Quebec, in many ways, is decades ahead of other “nations” as far as sexism and gender equality are concerned; but are decades behind as far as racism goes.

  2. If this non-kosher food impacted the kashrut of the hospital food, while not using their dishes or utensils, then any non-kosher food in the same block, city, country, or planet should equally ensure that nothing on Earth can be considered kosher.
    This did happen in Canada, and I don’t know their legal requirements for religious separation for public entities.

  3. I’ve never seen anybody say anything to the people eating their brown bag lunches at the Hebrew-U cafes. They’re not using utensils, so why would it matter?

  4. Since the hospital management’s responsibility is to ensure the well-being of its patients, personnel and visitors, it mandated its lawyers to negotiate an amicable settlement, rather than spend human and financial resources in a court trial.
    The Café de l’Atrium is a franchise operated by The Auxiliary, a group of volunteers devoted to the well-being of the hospital’s patients, and it is exclusively reserved for the consumption of food bought on the premises. The manager of the Café de l’Atrium, an employee of the franchise, maintains that he offered the two technicians the option of eating their meals in a designated lounge located elsewhere in the hospital, as is the usual practice for visitors who wish to eat food brought from the outside.
    According to the settlement, The Auxiliary agreed to pay the ambulance technicians $7,500 each. A court trial would have cost much more. The agreement was reached without admission of fault or responsibility.
    “The JGH is attentive to the needs of its patients, its employees and its visitors, continually seeking solutions to improve the quality of care people receive and to accommodate them as best as possible,” said Mr. Henri Elbaz, Executive Director of the JGH. “Since the space next to the Café de l’Atrium was large enough, we decided to build a new section for visitors, patients and employees who wish to eat food brought from outside the hospital, whether it is kosher or not.”
    The new section is in addition to existing areas where it is possible to eat food brought in from outside the hospital. Over the years, the JGH has set up numerous areas where patients and their families can eat the food of their choice, regardless of whether or not it is kosher. Furthermore, employees have access to several staff lounges where they could eat any type of food. The Pavilion A Lounge, which is open to visitors, patients and employees, was recently enlarged and offers non-Kosher vending machines.
    The JGH was founded by the Jewish community in order to serve the people of Montreal and Quebec, regardless of race, religion, language or financial means. Since then, the JGH has become one the largest hospitals in Quebec and the most multicultural of them all. Two-thirds of its patients are non-Jewish.
    “The JGH is an institution that is a part of our public health network. Its mission is to provide the highest possible quality of care to all patients,” explained Mr. Elbaz. “We prove on a daily basis that it is possible to respond to the needs of all our patients, regardless of their religious, linguistic or cultural backgrounds. We have the firm intention of continuing to pursue this policy of openness and respect for human rights for the benefit of all Montrealers and Quebecers.”
    Full press release in English and French located on

  5. Crumbs? Is he flicking his crumbs onto the other people’s food or something?
    There is no need to be a posek to answer this question.
    Use your common sense, its obvious this poses no problem at all.

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