The Orthodox Union has forced a name change in an upscale kosher Soho eatery by refusing to certify its current name—Jezebel.
The Jewish Week reported that the name change is one of two concessions restaurant owners made to the OU.
In a letter to investors, owners Menachem Sendrowicz and Henry Stimler, said the restaurant will go forward under the name ‘JSoho,’ and that they will also ban non-mevushal wines as part of the agreement.
The owners are hoping the changes will attract more traditional kosher diners.
“We felt the name Jezebel does not represent a person who has a positive reputation in the Tanach and was not a name we want to promote,” Rabbi Moshe Elefant, the head of the OU’s kashrut division told The Jewish Week.
“This is the name of a rasha, a clearly wicked person, said the rabbi”
Jezebel’s story is told in the Book of Kings, in which she is devoted to the Tyrian deity of Baal, a weather god. Because the New testament book of Revelations also associates her with sexual immorality, the name has been applied in popular culture to a woman of ill repute.
Rabbi Elefant referred to the situation as ‘atypical’ because the restaurant was formerly under another certification. Generally, the OU would work with a new restaurant in determining kashrut details prior to its opening.
He also said he could not recall a prior incident of objecting to an establishment’s name, but added that variables such as ‘ambiance’ that have no bearing of food are considered in the certification process.
“We want to make sure there is a certain environment in the restaurant,” he said.