Tradescantia Zebrina .:. The Wandering Jew

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tales and opinions of the wandering Jew

The Eco/Ethical Kashrut Wars

According to the Forward, Orthodox groups are attacking Conservative rabbis working to create a new, ethically motivated hekhsher [food certification; that kosher symbol you see on food].

The Conservative movement decided last December to create a Tsedek Hekhsher, or justice certification, after finding substandard working conditions at the country’s largest kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa. The movement, made up of more than 700 congregations, is currently devising a way of certifying the labor standards at kosher food plants.

Sounds good, right? Many Orthodox are saying it’s wrong:

The most organized criticism of the new effort has come from a group of ultra-Orthodox rabbis belonging to the Central Rabbinical Congress, or Hisachdus Horabbonim, which released a proclamation condemning the Conservative rabbis. The proclamation from the congress, which is affiliated with the Satmar Hasidic sect, was echoed in a column in the Jewish Press, a leading Orthodox publication. The Jewish Press columnist, Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum, said Jews should “repulse any attempts of introducing such alien impositions.”Tannenbaum wrote that the “injection of social or humanitarian considerations, especially by outsiders, would be an unallowable breach of the time honored halachic administration of kashrus standards.”

From the Hisachdus Horabbonim, the quote that makes them look the most foolish. (New = Bad!)

The Hisachdus kol koreh called upon all observant Jews to reject the introduction of any type of tsedek heckscher, something never previously heard of. The Hisachdus views the suggestion as an attempt by those outside the observant community to infiltrate and dilute the existing framework of kashrus certifications.

Maybe the solution is to see the forward-thinking, Tsedek Hekhsher-supporting Jews of NY (and other major cities) stage a full-blown Kosher Meat Boycott, as seen in 1902! Come on, you know you want to boycott – if enough people stop buying kosher meat, and start insisting on an ethical hekhsher, the butcher shops will have to cave and support the new hekhsher in order to stay in business, forcing the hands of the Orthodox rabbis to support the hekhsher. It could work…

[Edit: In a clear sign of “great minds think alike,” JCarrot has posted an article about this too, with a bit more information about the Conservative vs Orthodox conflicts arising from these efforts.]

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Filed under: judaism, politics

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