A dispute over how to grill a hot dog has a Palestinian food retailer pitted against a rabbi who is Baltimore's lone inspector of kosher meats.
The merchant, George Barghout, still was touting his dogs as kosher despite a conviction last week for violating a city ordinance that bars merchants from saying their products are kosher when they're not.Rabbi Mayer Kurcfeld has spent 15 months dogging Barghout, insisting that the kosher wieners he sells at his Yogurt Plus eatery are rendered non-kosher because he grills them next to non-kosher dogs.
"If the consumer believes he is getting kosher food, that is what he should get," the rabbi said.
Jewish dietary laws forbid commingling of kosher and non-kosher foods. Barghout says the cooking does not deprive the hot dogs of their kosher qualities. "The flame doesn't contaminate the meat; it purifies it," he said.
"It doesn't make any difference what he thinks," Kurcfeld replied.
Barghout came to the United States 31 years ago.
Kurcfeld is an Orthodox Jew born in Israel.
The conviction cost Barghout $500 in fines plus court costs.