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November 19, 2007

Heksher Tzedek -- kosher food with a conscience

From Fair Trade News:

Rabbi Morris Allen, of Beth Jacob Congregation in Mendota Heights, MN, has been promoting kashrut, Jewish dietary laws, to his congregation for twenty years. He says that kashrut provides “a way in which we as Jews understand a daily opportunity to sanctify our lives, to create a sense of holiness and a sense of awareness of God in our lives.” This consciousness means that Allen takes his food and its production seriously.

More than a year ago, Allen learned of labor abuses at an Iowa kosher meat processing plant that supplied the Twin Cities Jewish community. He was faced with a contradiction: The worker may slaughter an animal according to the laws of kashrut, but he or she may be underpaid and mistreated. What if the ritual is observed, but the ethics are undermined?

Allen distinguishes between “ritual,” the letter of the law that describes specific procedures for kosher slaughter and food handling, and the ethics of how kosher food is actually produced. While he does not privilege one over the other, he thinks current certification practices do. According to Allen, “kashrut has become more...  more

Link to the Heksher Tzedek website

November 19, 2007 in Food culture, Issues and thoughts, Labeling | Permalink

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