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In today's news (11 Dec 2018): "Rabbis from the Vaad HaRabanim of Flatbush, which grants kosher certification, threatened to pull their supervision of the Garden of Eat In and Orchidea if [a certain] Orthodox lesbian comedian performed at either venue."

Question: Do rabbis have the halachic right to refuse kashrut certification to an establishment for reasons that have nothing to do with the kashrut of food?

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    Do you have some reason to think they don't have a Halakhic right to not certify anyone they want for any reason? What could obligate them to certify anyone? – Double AA Dec 11 '18 at 21:13
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    Would you ask the same question, if the waitresses at these establishments were very scantily dressed (topless)? – IsraelReader Dec 11 '18 at 21:41
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    @IsraelReader Sure! Why would that affect the Kashrut of the food at all?? It obviously could be a nudist resort and still serve Glat meat. Even trans fats, tobacco and alcohol can be certified kosher despite they're poisonous nature. I'm not sure certifying food served near a lesbian performer is ethically any worse than publicly publishing a list of "approved" liquors. The latter will surely lead to way more sin. – Double AA Dec 11 '18 at 21:58
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    There's a YUTorah shiur about this -- afraid I don't recall the title off-hand. R' Ovadiah Yosef discussed a multi-tier system, ranging from "just the food" to "the whole venue." But this was a matter of debate, with some feeling there was implicit endorsement of the venue. – Shalom Dec 11 '18 at 23:25
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    @IsraelReader I see you've never read a Kashrut certificate before. You should check one out. Besides, more than 50% of the population can sit near belly dancers without Halakhic problems, and it's not like pure Vodka is too kosher to drink. Or is "drink responsibly" a Halakhically valid disclaimer? – Double AA Dec 12 '18 at 0:52
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Yes.

  1. Kashrus consists of two parts - the Kashrus of the ingredients and the supervision of the process of food preparation. For example, Kosher Milk and Kosher meat, but supervision is needed to check they are not mixed, or it is Bishul Israel etc.

  2. Rabbis have the rights to withdraw their [constant] supervision for any reason as this is just a service they provide for the place, thus rendering the place unsupervised and therefore uncertified - notice I didn't say not-Kosher, even if the ingredients are the same.

  3. Concerning the financial agreement between them - it all depends on what has been agreed on, if the Rabbis violated it they can be sued for the damages.

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Kashrus certification agencies are legally-recognized (according to local law) entities whose business is the certification of the kosher status of restaurants, food-processing plants, etc. Restaurants hire these agencies (i.e. pay them money) to supervise the preparation and cooking of food and to publicly state that they have done so and that the aforementioned preparation and cooking was done in accordance with the laws of kashrus according to the agency's well-known standards.

This is a purely business relationship whose terms are no different than any other business relationship. Unless the contract between the two businesses specifies that the agency will never withdraw certification for any reason other than kashrus violations (which would be an extremely burdensome stipulation, which seems unlikely that any agency would agree to), the agency should certainly be able to terminate the business relationship within the bounds of halakha.

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