update deskU.S. News

NJ kosher bakery faces boycotts for declining rainbow pastry orders

The local Federation first stated the bakery’s decision was not aligned with Jewish values, and then apologized for dividing the community.

The West Orange Bake Shop, a kosher bakery in New Jersey. Credit: Google Maps screenshot.
The West Orange Bake Shop, a kosher bakery in New Jersey. Credit: Google Maps screenshot.

Several weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Colorado could not compel a Christian designer to create a website promoting gay marriage, a kosher West Orange, N.J. bakery canceled orders for a rainbow cake and 10 pounds of rainbow cookies celebrating Pride month.

The Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ initially wrote to staff and supporters on June 20 that it would no longer order from West Orange Bake Shop, after the kosher bakery canceled two orders from Congregation B’nai Israel, a Conservative congregation in Millburn, N.J.

Dov Ben-Shimon, executive vice president and CEO of the local Federation, wrote that the bakery’s decision “did not align with the value of B’tzelem Elohim, that each one of us is created in the Divine Image and deserves to be treated as such,” the New Jersey Jewish News reported.

A week later—after the first email had been publicly reported—Ben-Shimon emailed a new statement. “We are looking forward to future conversations with the vendor with the goal of finding a resolution,” he wrote.

“We sincerely regret that our actions have caused divisiveness in our community as our aim is to bring the variety and richness of our many constituents together,” he added.

Yitzy Mittel, the bakery’s co-owner, told JTA that he had made a rainbow cake for the synagogue last year, but had been unnerved, since it goes against his religious beliefs.

He told the wire that he also declines to make cakes with crosse, and that he would turn down business if a customer wanted him to write a homophobic message on a cake.

In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado baker, who declined to create a custom wedding cake for a same-sex couple on religious grounds.

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