Catering Hall Pitfalls

My wife and I recently made a wedding and due to our oversight, fell
victim to a pitfall.

Our son was married in a hall where a daughter was married in 2005, in
Jerusalem. Due to numerous circumstances, a series of oversights
perhaps, no one actually inquired as to the hechsher until two weeks
before the wedding. We made the very bad error of assuming things
hadn’t changed since 2005.

We were alarmed to learn the place was under the supervision of one of
the unauthorized agencies, meaning many many of our friends would not
touch the food, rightfully so I might add. We too would not eat the

At the end of the day, we brought in food from Jerusalem Caterers,
under the supervision of Badatz Eida Hareidit, and hired a private
mashgiach for the evening. It did cost quite a bit extra, was cause
for some family stress and tensions, but the wedding was held and
mazel tov to all.

Admittedly, this was at best a band aid since to really have the event
under the Eida Hareidit would have involved koshering the entire
kitchen, bringing in their staff and so-forth. It was too late and too
complicated considering the events that occurred in such proximity to
the wedding.

The food was brought in a few hours before the wedding and heated and
served by the catering hall staff. Guests were informed and each made
his/her own decision.

The point, you cannot assume – ever! When booking a wedding through a
third party, in this case an agency called Mitzhalot Chatanim, you
must see the certificates, ask the necessary questions, and reject all
vague and ambiguous responses that seem to circumvent the questions.
Only after you fully understand can you sign on the dotted line.

I mention the agency’s name here because they are quite well known in
Jerusalem, working to lower wedding costs for young couples but I
learned that since the wedding in 2005, new management has assumed
control and things have changed drastically in that organization, to
my dismay, not at all for the better.

It took many calls by family members and others more knowledgeable
than I, friends who were good enough to assist. We were literally
compelled to pry the information from the management, until it became
painfully clear the food and kashrut were not what we expected. The
buzz word, “badatz” was used liberally, one of the causes for concern
which eventually led us to find out the real deal.

It took pulling teeth to get a copy of the kosher certificate, to find
out what meats and other ingredients were used in food preparations,
and the management was rude, evasive and seemingly less than
straightforward. Beware and be warned if you opt to use Mitzhalot
Chatanim for your future simcha!!

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