Culture, Global, Justice, Mishegas, Politics, Religion, Sex & Gender

Blogging the Omer, Day 30: yes, more….

Week Five, Day two
Gevurah of Hod
According to the latest news, yes, there’s more, if you can stand it. The Des Moines Register reports that there was sexual abuse and an expectation of sexual favors, according to the workers,

If a worker wanted, say, a promotion or a shift change, “they’d be brought into a room with three or four men and it was like, ‘Which one do you want? Which one are you going to serve?’” said McCauley in an interview today with Des Moines Register editors and reporters.

To be fair, it should have been obvious that somethignlike this would be revealed – with all the other garbage going on behindthe scenes, this particular form of abusing the powerless should have been an obvious add-on feature.
RadioIowa mentions that America’s Voice, a group pushing for immigration reform, is asking Congress to investigate the owners of the Postville plant.

Mark Lauritsen, international vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) says reading the information on the Postville raid shows “shameful” action by the plant’s owners. Lauritsen says what’s ultimately shameful is that nearly 400 “hardworking men and women” are in detention, while the people who exploited them are free to roam the streets and start the cycle over again.
Lauriston says Agriproccessors has gotten away with the labor violations for too long. Lauritsen says: “There is not one other meatpacker operator in this country that has the same sustained long record of law violations as Agriprocessors, not one. They’re acting like a renegade in an already tough industry. It’s not good for the industry, it’s not good for the workers who work in it.” Sharry and Lauritson say the national strategy of ‘attrition through enforcement’ remains an ineffective solution to the immigration issue.

I hope they’re successful, but after all this time, who knows – it’s not like there haven’t already been tons of investigation worthy crimes over the past several years, with a pattern of disregard for the law. Again, our only quesiotn should be, where the hell is the Jewish community, and why didn’t we insist on OU’s hashgachah (supervision) being pulled with much greater force. Our lack of courage and refusal to go without meat is a chillul hashem – an embarrassment to God’s name.

9 thoughts on “Blogging the Omer, Day 30: yes, more….

  1. I came upon this series only yesterday, and I am fascinated – this year hasn’t worked out for me with the Omer, not sure why. Last year, I was able to keep focused on the Omer because I centered our meditation group’s sessions on working through the weekly cycle of Sefirot – and it was hugely educational and thought-provoking.
    My only wish with this series is that there was a specific category, so that it would be easier to see all the posts together – rather than scrolling through. Granted, as a newish visitor to, I’m happy to see other posts as well, but it would be great to have the option.
    anyway, Yasher Koach (Kocheich?) on this effort!

  2. The OU will not pull their hechsher on Rubashkin as long as it is deemed profitable for them to do so. If you and others wish to see the OU pull it’s support for this meat factory and all its abuses, you will need to attack the OU directly.
    Otherwise, you will simply get, “yes, we’re concerned, we’re looking into it, we’re making sure changes are implemented” for the next five years, just as you have received for the past 10 years.
    Sitting back and waiting for the Modern Orthodox to make a stand against the haredim over idealistic issues is kinda like waiting for the Messiah. It just doesn’t fucking happen, despite all expectations to the contrary.

  3. This is why I mentioned in my email that I now buy not Postville Star-K beef. Agriprocessors is still profitable for them, but they want to dump it before and not after it tarnishes the OU brand and the more complaints they get the better. Don’t forget the loud response they gave to the hecture tzedek. That’s not yet off the ground, but they clearly recognized it as a real danger/competition to their branding.
    I don’t except my single email to change much, but if they are hounded with hundreds of emails along with complaints anytime a representative speaks to anyone but a haredi audience, the message might start to sink in. Frankly, writing an email took a couple of minutes of my time. I could afford to waste that time and perhaps if enough people waste a similar amount of time, the time won’t be wasted.

  4. for the less-informed of us, how can we distinguish the sources of kosher meat if we want to boycott meat from this source (or encourage non-vegetarian family members to do so)?

  5. Uncooked meat cuts usually say where the meat is slaughtered. If it’s says Postville, Iowa, it’s from this slaughterhouse. If it’s Aaron’s Best or Rubashkin, it’s from there. The most conservative position is to only buy things that clearly say they are from somewhere else, but that isn’t always easy. Prepared foods don’t say the origin of every ingredient. When I’d gone to a kosher market, I’d asked where the meat from behind the counter is from and I told them I don’t want to buy Rubashkin. I was clearly not the only one saying this because their non-Rubashkin meat supply had increased.

  6. “As with any legal matter, Agriprocessors cannot comment about any specific allegation,” Abrahams said in a written statement. “The company is performing an independent investigation and will continue to cooperate with the government about this matter.”
    “Continue to cooperate with the government”?! When was there a magical time when they DID cooperate with the government? Agriprocessors have been ignoring all legal criticism they’ve been getting for the past 7 years, whether it be in terms of unneccessary brutality in their slaughtering or illegal and inhumane labor practices. The only way Rubashkin will stop explicitly lying to the public is when the Jewish community forces them to, either by boycotting their meat or by demonstrating against them.
    Yet (institutionally) we have been convinced of Jewish infallibility or moral superiority so we are immune to criticism and anyone who does criticize is a self-hating Jew because they choose to criticize a Jewish slaughterhouse when non-kosher slaughterhouses are by far worse.
    First of all, non kosher slaughterhouses are definitely not worse in their labor practices, and second of all, Jews SHOULD be more critical of their own institutions. How could I criticize the cleanliness of my neighbor’s house when mine is a mess?
    KRG said it best: It’s a chillul Hashem

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