Introducing the Kosher Seal of Justice

The Alphabet Soup of Jewish organizations is matched only by kosher certification labels: OU, OK, Star-K, KSA and Kof-K, to name a few. I won’t get into the politics and corruption of Kosher labeling authorities now. More notably, 3 decades after Zalman Shachter coined the termed Eco-Kosher, the Conservative movement has announced a complementary type of certification for kosher products — the Hekhsher Tzedek, or Kosher Seal of Justice. According to the JTA:

Hekhsher Tzedek, aims to certify foods produced by companies that adhere to standards of worker safety and environmental sensitivity, among other criteria. The certification would complement a traditional kashrut stamp.

The article continues:

Hekhsher Tzedek has gained prominence in the aftermath of the May 12 immigration raid at Agriprocessors, the largest kosher meat producer in the United States, which has come under fire for allegedly mistreating its workers. The company has denied wrongdoing.

“Hekhsher Tzedek is a holistic celebration of Jewish tradition, uniting ethical practice with ritual observance in the production of Jewish food,” said Rabbi Morris Allen, the project’s founder and director. “Jewish law is concerned not only about the smoothness of a cow’s lung, but also about the safety of a worker’s hand as well as the impact that kosher food production has on the environment.

See the guidelines themselves here.

The most interesting comment I’ve seen so far is over at Jewschool:

I’m not a fan of this. All one has to do is look to Israel (e.g. the way the Interior ministry treats Russian olim) to see what happens when Rabbis start doing jobs commonly done by civil authorities. Religous institutions don’t have key characteristics, like a commitment to due process, inspector generals to root out corruption, an appeals process, protection for whistleblowers… I’m not saying that our current civil institutions are perfect, but they are closer to perfect in this respect than most religious groups.

I love the goals, but… think that there are more appropriate people to handle these kinds of issues. Jews who care about this stuff should lobby for more effective enforcement of relevant civil laws.

The is a great point and should be considered. Ah, I love overlapping authorities! Thank you, Federalism.

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2 Responses to “Introducing the Kosher Seal of Justice”

  1. Brian Cuban Says:

    The Agriprocessors Raid brings up many different issues. I do not think the Rubashkins have heard the last of the federal government.

    Kosher Gate!

  2. Brian Cuban, Thank you for being a Spamming Assclown « Samurai Mohel Says:

    […] here’s the same exact Frakking comment on another blog which posted about Hechser […]

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