News n Jews

Kosher certification agency sues JetBlue, saying they lied about a kosher snackBy Jackie Hajdenberg, JTA

    One of the United States’ largest kosher certifying agencies alleges that JetBlue airlines sold a snack it falsely claimed was certified as kosher.
    In a lawsuit filed last Thursday, Kof-K said JetBlue put the agency’s hechsher, or rabbinical approval symbol, on an artichoke snack that the agency never certified as kosher.
    The company that makes the artichoke snack, Elma Farms, was not named in the lawsuit. A JetBlue spokesperson told Reuters on Friday the airline is investigating the claims. An attorney for Kof-K declined to comment to Reuters.
    There are approximately 1,400 kosher certifying agencies around the world, but in the United States, the “Big Five”—the Orthodox Union (OU), Organized Kashrut Laboratories (OK), Kof-K, Star-K, and the Chicago Rabbinical Council (CRC)—certify more than 80% of the country’s kosher food products. Kof-K started certifying food as kosher in the early 1970s.
    JetBlue’s $9 Mediterranean-inspired vegan snack box also included products certified kosher by the Orthodox Union, the Kashruth Council of Canada and EarthKosher.
    This is not the first legal action taken against an airline relating to their provision of kosher food this year. In Brazil, a judge awarded plaintiffs $1,759 after they filed a complaint against American Airlines alleging that they were denied kosher food on board.
    Other airlines that have gotten into legal trouble with the Jewish community in recent months also include Lufthansa and Delta, both for refusing to board Orthodox Jewish passengers for different reasons.

$1.2 billion Surfside settlement for families and unit owners approved day before one-year anniversary
By Caleb Gueded-Reed

    A judge in Florida approved a $1.2 billion settlement just hours before the one-year anniversary of the residential tower collapse in Surfside on June 24, which killed 98 people.
    Condo owners will split the estimated $96 million in proceeds from the sale of the land where the Champlain Towers South stood. The victims’ families and residents who were injured from the building’s collapse will share an additional billion dollars in compensation.
    While Miami Judge Michael Hanzman said this was the most complicated case he had seen in his 35-year career, he called the outcome “remarkable.” No victims or their families chose to opt out of the settlement, and Hanzman said the decision avoided the need for a trial that could have lasted a decade.
    Family members of the 98 victims gathered Thursday night to mark the moment at 1:22 a.m. when the building began to collapse last year. First lady Jill Biden is scheduled to speak at a public memorial event on the site on Friday.
    The town of Surfside, where nearly half of the 6,000 residents are Jewish, has for decades served as a meeting place for geographically-separated Jews. Miami has a large percentage of Hispanic Jews, many of whom come from families that came to the area after leaving Cuba, Colombia, Argentina and Venezuela.


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