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September 25, 2005

The Jewish Advocate
Editorial Department
15 School Street
Boston, MA  02108

To the editor:

I would like to warn your readers about ongoing religious discrimination against observant Jews by “King Richard's Faire” in Carver, Mass.

The Faire prohibits any outside food or beverages. My family was unaware of this policy when planning our first visit to the Faire; it is not posted anywhere on their extensive Web site or mentioned in their advertisements. However, we were aware that because we keep kosher, we would not be able to eat any of the food sold at the Faire. Since going to the Faire is an all-day activity, we brought our own food.

When we arrived and saw the posted policy, I explained that we would be unable to eat any of the food sold inside because we keep kosher, and I asked for us to be allowed to bring in our own food. The Assistant Box Office Manager refused my request and told us we would have to eat in the parking lot or in the open area by the entrance. I asked to speak to the Box Office Manager. He, too, refused my request.

The explanation he offered was, “If anything happened to you while eating your food on our property, we would be liable.” I found this explanation hard to swallow. Visitors are allowed to carry daggers, swords, etc. There are booths at which visitors can shoot crossbows, practice archery, and throw knives. With all this, the management is worried that I might choke on my corned beef?

My family has attended many events and activities, some of which had similar policies, and we've never been prevented from bringing in our own food after explaining why we would be unable to eat the establishment's.

While most visitors to the Faire enjoyed eating their lunches at comfortable tables in the shade while being entertained, we were forced to eat ours on the ground outside the entrance, in the burning sun, with arriving visitors staring at us as they marched by. It was, for me, just a taste of what it feels like to be singled out and treated differently because of my religion.

I urge your readers to think twice before patronizing King Richard's Faire. Even those readers who do not keep kosher should consider whether they wish to support an institution which discriminates against their fellow Jews. We certainly won't do so again.

Jonathan Kamens

cc:Bonnie Harris Shapiro, Producer
King Richard's Faire