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Citi Field ban on Shabbat hot-dog sales upheld

Citi Field

A purveyor of kosher food at Citi Field doesn’t have the right to sell on the Shabbat after the New York Mets ordered a halt to food sales for religious reasons, according to a appeals court decision.

The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request from Kosher Sports Inc. to order the Mets to allow the three kosher food carts to remain open on the Sabbath. KSI argued that the high cost of outfitting the carts to kashrut certification was unfair under the terms of the 10-year agreement for KSI to run the three kosher carts, but the appeals court agreed with Queens Baseball Inc. that the Mets had the right to close down operations on Friday nights. From the Jewish Daily Forward:

KSI charged Mets organization officials with operating out of concern about “undermined credibility with Sabbath-observing’ fans” and ignoring measures taken by KSI’s make its carts halachically kosher-for-Shabbat.

Rabbi Zushe Blech, a lecturer at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts in Brooklyn, was quoted in a 2012 Daily News article admitting that the Mets’ position had validity. “It doesn’t look kosher,” he said.

At the same time, he supported KSI’s arguments by saying that it is possible to not violate Shabbat by pre-cooking kosher food and having a non-Jew operate the cart. He also doubted that Jewish ball fans who would care about kosher food being sold on Shabbat would even be present at Citi Field for Friday night or Saturday games.

KSI must pay the Mets $55,000 to satisfy the terms of the company’s operating agreement.

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