To Renew or Not to Renew: Kof-K Certification for B&J’s

Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory in Israel

Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is the subject of controversy in the Jewish community, for its decision to ban sales of the frozen treat in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria. Some states are divesting funds from Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, while several grocery stores have stopped stocking the ice cream. Now Ben & Jerry’s stands to lose it kashrut certification, which has begun a whole new controversy: would the withdrawal of a kashrut certification over an Israel boycott be a politicization of kashrut?

The editor of the Jerusalem Post thinks so. But many others do not, and approve of the Kof-K’s tentative decision to simply not renew its contract with the ice cream company, come 2022, when the current contract expires. The way we see it is that businesses reserve the right to refuse service. And that’s exactly the case here. It’s not that the ice cream will suddenly be traif. And it’s not like Ben & Jerry’s can’t find a different company to certify its ice cream as kosher. It’s just that the stamp of approval won’t be coming from Kof-K, a move many of us applaud.