The Conservative Movement‘s debate over whether or not to implement a new “tzedek hechsher” reflecting a particular company’s compliance with extra-dietary standards of Jewish Law was the subject of an article today in the Jewish Exponent:
Jewish law clearly has a lot to say, of course, about ritual slaughter, and the proper preparation of kosher meat and poultry. There’s also plenty in the Torah and Talmud that focuses on employer-employee relationships, and the ethics of how to treat workers.
Except for a few historical cases where rabbinical authorities tried to link the two issues, generally, they’ve been considered sperate spheres.
But a newly formed commission created by the Conservative movement is calling attention to conditions faced by workers at kosher-meat plants. The Commission of Inquiry is weighing whether or not to call for a “Tsedek Hekhsher,” combining the Hebrew word for justice with the traditional term for kosher certification.
The initiative would create a process to certify that kosher meat and chicken were prepared in an environment where workers are paid fairly and on time, treated with dignity and receive adequate safety training.
I’m livid about this. Not about the Conservative movement doing hechsherim, or about the difference in standards in what can be called “kosher” by law.
What I simply can not understand is, “where are the Orthodox in all this”? A particular kashrus organization was lauded for its requiring compliance to laws of alcoholic consumption for its hechsher, while entire segments of Jewish Law are relegated to virtual irrelevance.
On Thisisbabylon.net I go into much more detail about this, and I attempt to show that, when it comes to kashrut, many questions — of actual codified Jewish Law — are being sorely left unasked…yet I still can’t drink the water in Brooklyn.