London Bet Din warns of unkosher mezuzot and tefillin for sale

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London Bet Din warns of unkosher mezuzot and tefillin for sale

Items being sold at unnamed shop in Golders Green may not be suitable for use, as rabbinic authority looks to 'reassure our members' for the future

Jack Mendel is the Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Hand on a Mezuzah
Hand on a Mezuzah

The London Bet Din has raised the alarm over the sale of tefillin and mezuzot that “fall below the required standard of kashrut”.

In a letter sent to rabbis on Friday, its head, Dayan Menachem Gelley, warned that items from an unnamed shop in Golders Green may not be suitable for use. The quality of the parchment or writing on the mezuzot and tefillin were reportedly found to be wanting.

He said the issue is a “cause for great concern”, reflecting on both “immediate” implications for those who have bought items, and “how we can reassure our members” for the future.

He said a ‘Rabbinical Authority for Sifrei Torah, Tefillin & Mezuzot’ has been set up to “address the lack of regulation”. It has published a list of six approved scribes for writing and checking items, and two outlets for purchasing them.

Concerns were echoed by the rabbi of Borehamwood, Britain’s largest Jewish community. Rabbi Alex Chapper, seeking to reassure congregants, said the London Bet Din “is aware of the situation and advises that anyone who has purchased tefillin and mezuzot from this shop should have them checked at their earliest convenience.”

Chapper added that “until they are checked, halachically [according to Jewish law] we can rely on the fact that any individual pair of tefillin or mezuzah that have been purchased, was sourced from the majority of the shop’s merchandise which were kosher, with only a minority were found to have fallen below the required standard. Therefore, they can continue to be used.”

He added that Torah scrolls purchased from the shop will also need to be checked, but the “immediate concern is considerably less for a number of halachic reasons”, so they can continue to be used in the meantime.

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