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Seal of Justice

The group B’Maagalei Tzedek (In Circles of Justice) has come up with a brilliant idea–just as restauraunts get certification if they pass certain standards of kashrut, thus enabling people to know which places are kosher and which not, so too should they be certified in a public way if their business practices and treatment of employees are ethical and just.
Their website explains:

B’Maaglaei Tzedek’s flagship social action effort is the Social Seal project, which awards a seal of approval similar to kashrut certification to businesses that commit to upholding ethical standards.
Piloted in Jerusalem during this past year, this project has already awarded ethical certification to 40 restaurants and catering halls – frameworks that often ignore the rights of their kitchen workers and waiting staff – and to 75 businesses associated with the religious kibbutz movement. Over the next three years, our goal is to teach consumers that they have the power to change society by insisting on the Social Seal as a prerequisite for their business, and to turn the Social Seal into certification that has financial implications for businesses, thereby encouraging their compliance with the social values that it represents.

A list of businesses and eateries in Israel that have been awarded the tav ha-hevrati (social seal) can be found here. You can sort by city/region, if you’d like. Go to these places. Reward them for good practices with your business. And make it a point of telling managers that you’re there bacause of the tav.
If a favorite restaraunt is not on the list (or anytime you go out, really), make a point of going in and asking if they have a tav, telling them that it makes a difference to you in terms of where you go. Let cafe owners know that it’s good business for them to have the tav.
The home page of B’Maagalei Tzedek’s site is here.

10 thoughts on “Seal of Justice

  1. wow! thats really cool!and really important.
    just pointing out that the original kashruth is for the customer, to simply know what he’s eating. on the other hand this type of kashruth is only concerning issues between the owner and g*d, employee’s etc. (not really a factor to the customer that may purchase and consume-i.e. the need of this new type of kashruth). there for one may not want to mix in to ones private business.

  2. It’s a great cdoncept, but the details can be quite tricky. In the US, when there was renewed uproar over swaeshops in the mid-nineties, the so-called the Fair Labor Association (FLA) was created to “certify” that clothes weren’t sweatshop-made. But industry had such influence over the FLA that it becase devoid of any credibility–ultimately unions and other anti-sweatshop groups created the Worker’s Rights Consortium (WRC). There then ensued a series of sit-ins and campaigns on college campuses to get them to switch from the FLA to WRC.
    That’s not to say that this effort is a sell-out by any means–just to point out that certification is more complex than it loks at first glance.

  3. “the original kashruth is for the customer, to simply know what he’s eating. on the other hand this type of kashruth is only concerning issues between the owner and g*d, employee’s etc. ”
    i believe that this type of kashrut is in fact equally important as the more traditional kind. first, as a customer, i would like to know what i am eating – and that goes beyond hekshers into how that food was made and if in the process the people responsible for the food were treated ethically. second, i dont think it is only between the owner and god because if we are giving that owner money or business, then that makes us complicit in his/her crime if there is unethical treatment going on behind the scenes.
    on another note, this is great news and i look forward to supporting this effort on my next trip there and spreading the word to others.

  4. Very sad that we’ve come to this – most (if not all) the checklist for “Hevrati cerification” is covered by existing mitzvot. We have constructed a vast mechanism to monitor kashrut – which does have moral/spiritual content but is still perceived as a “ritual observance”, while the mitzvot which are more directly moral and ethical in nature have been so neglected.
    Shouldn’t a kashrut certificate mean ethical practices are understood? Shouldn’t it go without saying?

  5. Israel is a European colony.
    Europe has stolen or destroyed:
    1) North America
    2) South America
    3) Africa
    4) Austrailia
    5) India, almost
    Whatever you put on the left hand of the equation, on the right you find White people taking land of darker skinned people.
    That’s fine, might may make right for you. But, you cannot have the land and then demand the moral highground as well.
    Isreal’s entire strategy rests on making impossible an honest public discourse on the Palestinian and Israeli conflict. Eventually, more and more credible figures will examin this issue and advance thier ideas. The harvard article was a good beginning. It won’t end there basically because you cannot require American intellectuals to supress thier ideas for as long as you need them to.

  6. Hey: Take a look at the reading list, below, from the website of the Jewish Labor Committee. JLC “is an independent secular organization that helps the Jewish community and the trade union movement work together on important issues of shared interest and concern. Our national headquarters are in New York City; we have staffed local/regional offices in Boston, MA; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; Los Angeles — and volunteer-led JLC or JLC-affiliated groups in such places as Washington, DC; Cleveland, OH; Miami, FL; Phoenix, AZ; Las Vegas, NV, San Francisco, CA; and Seattle, WA.”
    SOURCE FOR LIST REPRUDUCED BELOW: http://www.jewishlaborcommittee.org/2006/01/readings_on_traditional_jewish_1.html
    Readings on Traditional Jewish texts on Labor and Worker Rights
    anon., “Labor,” ENCYCLOPEDIA JUDAICA Vol. 10, Keter Publishing House (Jerusalem, Israel 1972)
    Ayali, Meir, “Labor and Work in the Talmud and Midrash,” [Hebrew] Yad La-Talmud (Ramat Gan, 1984)
    Baron, Salo, “Economics and Social Justice,” in “THE ECONOMIC VIEWS OF MAIMONIDES” in ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL JEWISH HISTORY, ed. Arthur Hertzberg & Leon A. Feldman, Rutgers University Press (New Brunswick, 1972)
    ——- “Free Labor,” op. cit. , pp. 248-260.
    Bazak, J., comp. JEWISH LAW AND JEWISH LIFE: SELECTED RABBINICAL RESPONSA (pp. 75, 80), Union of American Hebrew Congregations (New York, NY 1979)
    Bleich, J. David, “Organized Labor;” “Tenure,” in CONTEMPORARY HALAKHIC
    PROBLEMS (Vol. 1), KTAV Publishing House, Inc. / Yeshiva University Press (New York, NY 1977)
    —-“Severance Pay;” “Teachers’ Unions,” in CONTEMPORARY HALAKHIC PROBLEMS (Vol. 2), KTAV Publishing House, Inc. / Yeshiva University Press (New York, NY 1983)
    —-“Organized Labor – Survey of Recent Halakhic Periodical Literature,” in Tradition 13, no. 1 (New York, NY 1972)
    —- “Physicians’ Fees – Survey of Recent Halakhic Periodical Literature,” in Tradition 19, no. 4 (New York, NY 1981)
    —- “Physicians’ Strikes – Survey of Recent Halakhic Periodical Literature,” in Tradition 21, no. 3 (New York, NY 1984)
    —- “Rabbinic Contracts – Survey of Recent Halakhic Periodical Literature,” in Tradition 11, no. 3 (New York, NY 1970)
    —- “Severance Pay: Hired Servant or Independent Contractor – Survey of Recent Halakhic Periodical Literature,” in Tradition 17, no. 3 (New York, NY 1978)
    —- “Severance Pay,” in Jewish Law Annual 3 (1980)
    —- “Survey of Recent Halakhic Periodical Literature [particularly p. 126, Tenure on p. 129, and Employment During the Post-Nuptual Week on p. 136],” in Tradition 14, no. 4 (New York, NY 1974)
    —- “Teachers’ Unions – Survey of Recent Halakhic Periodical Literature,” in Tradition 19, no. 3 (New York, NY 1984)
    —- “Teachers’ Unions,” in Jewish Law Annual (1987)
    —- “Tenure: A Review of a Rabbinical Court Judgment,” in Jewish Law Annual 1 (1978)
    Blumenfield, Samuel M., LABOR IN THE BIBLE, Dissertation Hebrew Union College (Cincinnati 1930)
    Cronbach, Abraham, “Labor,” UNIVERSAL JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA (New York, NY 1939-1943)
    ———————–, “Social Thinking in the Sefer Hasidim,” in Hebrew Union College Annual 22 (1949)
    Elon, Menachem, “Ha’anakah (Severance Pay),” in ENCYCLOPEDIA JUDAICA Vol. 7, Keter Publishing (Jerusalem, Israel 1972)
    Fasman, Oscar Z., “The Attitude of the Hafetz Hayyim toward Labor,” in ISRAEL OF TOMORROW, ed. by Leo Jung, Herald Square Press, Inc. (New York, NY 1946), pp. 117-184
    Federbush, Simon, THE JEWISH CONCEPT OF LABOR, Torah Culture Department, Jewish Agency and HaPoel haMizrachi of America (New York, NY 1956)
    Fendel, Zechariah, “Employer-Employee Relations [p. 77];” “The Abusive Employer [p. p. 80],” in THE HALACHA AND BEYOND: PROVIDING AN INSIGHT INTO THE FISCAL ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE TORAH JEW, AS WELL AS AN IN-DEPTH STUDY OF THE BITACHON CONCEPT, Hashkafah Publications (New York, NY 1983)
    Heinemann, Joseph H., “The Status of the Laborer in Jewish Law and Society in the Tannaitic Period,” in Hebrew Union College Annual 25 (1954)
    Hirsch, Richard G., “Labor – Rights and Responsibilities,” in THE WAY OF THE UPRIGHT: A JEWISH VIEW OF ECONOMIC JUSTICE [pp. 36-62], Union of American Hebrew Congregations (New York, NY 1973)
    Horowitz, George, “Hired Workers/Further Rules Favorable to the Worker,” in THE SPIRIT OF JEWISH LAW, Central Book Company (New York, NY 1963)
    Jacobs, Louis, “Strikes,” in WHAT DOES JUDAISM SAY ABOUT …? [pp. 309 – 310], Keter Publishing (Jerusalem 1973)
    Jakobovits, I., “The Right to Strike,” in STUDIES IN TORAH JUDAISM: JEWISH LAW FACES MODERN PROBLEMS, Yeshiva University Dept. of Special Publications (New York, NY 1965)
    —- “The Right to Strike – Review of Recent Halakhic Periodical Literature,” in Tradition 5, no. 2 [p. 273] (1963)
    —- “Strikes – Survey of Recent Halakhic Periodical Literature,” in Tradition 7,
    no. 4/8, no. 1 [p. 98] (1965/1966)
    —- “Workmen’s Compensation and Severance Pay – Review of Recent Halakhic Periodical Literature,” in Tradition 4, no. 2 [p. 260] (1962)
    Jung, Leo, “The Workingman,” in HUMAN RELATIONS IN JEWISH LAW, Jewish Education Press / Board of Jewish Education, Inc. (New York, NY 1967/1970) [Reprinted in BETWEEN MAN AND MAN, Jewish Education Press / Board of Jewish Education, Inc. (New York, NY 1976)]
    —–. “Labor in Jewish Law,” in BUSINESS ETHICS AND JEWISH LAW, Hebrew Publishing Company in conjunction with the Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York (New York, NY 1987)
    Katz, Mordechai, PROTECTION OF THE WEAK IN THE TALMUD, Columbia University Press (New York, NY 1925)
    Klagsbrun, Francine, “Work, Wealth and Philanthropy,” in VOICES OF WISDOM: JEWISH IDEAS AND ETHICS FOR EVERYDAY LIVING, Pantheon Books (New York, NY 1980)
    Kogan, Michael S., “Liberty and Labor in the Jewish Tradition,” in Ideas, A Journal of Contemporary Jewish Thought (Spring 1975)
    Kohler, Kaufmann, “Labor,” in Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 7, p. 590 (New York, NY 1901-1906)
    Levine, Aaron, FREE ENTERPRISE AND JEWISH LAW: ASPECTS OF JEWISH BUSINESS ETHICS, KTAV (New York, NY 1980)
    —-, “Jewish Business Ethics in Contemporary Society,” in BUSINESS ETHICS AND JEWISH LAW, by Leo Jung, Hebrew Publishing Company in conjunction with the Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York (New York, NY 1987)
    —-, “Labor Mobility: A Halakhic View, in Gesher 5, no. 1 [pp. 88-105] (1976)
    Levinthal, Israel H., “The Attitude of Judaism Toward Labor,” in JUDAISM: AN ANALYSIS AND AN INTERPRETATION, Funk and Wagnalls (New York & London, 1935)
    —-, “The Attitude of Judaism Toward the Laborer,” in JUDAISM: AN ANALYSIS AND AN INTERPRETATION, Funk and Wagnalls (New York & London, 1935)
    Neusner, Jacob, THE ECONOMICS OF THE MISHNAH, University of Chicago Press
    (Chicago, IL 1990)
    Perry, Michael S., LABOR RIGHTS IN THE JEWISH TRADITION, Jewish Labor Committee (New York, NY, n.d.)
    Reines, Chaim W., “Labor in Rabbinical Responsa,” in ISRAEL OF TOMORROW, ed. by Leo Jung, Herald Square Press, Inc. [p. 141] (New York, NY 1946)
    —-, “The Jewish Conception of Work,” in Judaism, 8 [pp. 329-337] (1959)
    Riemer, Jack, “The Jewish view of work (Avodah), in Jewish Heritage (Summer 1962), p. 21-23
    Sacks, Eliot, “Teachers and the right to strike,” L’eylah (New Year 5746), p. 16-17 [London]
    Sacks, J[onathan?], “Halacha: Industrial Relations in Jewish Law,” in Ha-Zvi 13 [p. 13] (Mizrahi Journal) (London Purim 5739)
    Schnall, David J., BY THE SWEAT OF YOUR BROW: REFLECTIONS ON WORK AND
    THE WORKPLACE IN CLASSICAL JEWISH THOUGHT, KTAV (New York, NY 2001)
    Shapira, Abraham, “Work,” in CONTEMPORARY JEWISH RELIGIOUS THOUGHT, by Cohen, Arthur A. and Mendes-Flohr, Paul, The Free Press (New York, 1987)
    Sicher, Gustav, “Concept of Work in the Jewish Faith,” in JEWISH STUDIES: ESSAYS IN HONOR OF G. SICHER, ed. by R. Iltis, Council of Jewish Religious Communities [p. 5] (Prague 1955)
    Silverman, William B., “The Dignity of Labor,” in THE SAGES SPEAK, Jason Aronson, Inc. (Northvale, NJ and London, England 1989)
    Sulzberger, Mayer, “The Status of Labor in Ancient Israel,” in Jewish Quarterly Review 13 (1922-23), p. 245-302, 397-459; reprinted separately (Philadelphia PA 1923)
    Tamari, Meir, IN THE MARKETPLACE: JEWISH BUSINESS ETHICS, Targum Press
    (Southfield, MI 1991)
    ——-, WITH ALL YOUR POSSESSIONS: JEWISH ETHICS AND ECONOMIC LIFE, The Free Press (New York, NY 1987)
    Vorspan, ALbert, and Eugene J. Lipman, “Labor,” in JUSTICE AND JUDAISM, Union of American Hebrew Congregations (New York, NY: 1956)
    Warhaftig, Shillem, “Labor Law,” in ENCYCLOPEDIA JUDAICA Vol. 10, Keter Publishing House (Jerusalem 1972)
    Weisfeld, Israel H., “LABOR LEGISLATION IN THE BIBLE AND TALMUD, Yeshiva
    University (New York, NY 1974)
    Wigoder, Geoffrey, “Labor and Labor Laws,” in ENCYCLOPEDIA OF JUDAISM, [2002]
    Wolkinson, Benjamin W., “Labor and the Jewish Tradition – A Reappraisal,” in Jewish Social Studies Vol. 40 no. 3/4 (S/F 1978)
    Woll, Jonathan S., THE EMPLOYER-EMPLOYEE RELATIONSHIP IN SHULCHAN-ARUCH Dissertation Hebrew Union College (Cincinnatin, OH 1976)
    Wolsey, Louis, “The Historic Attitude of Judaism to Labor,” in CCAR Yearbook Vol. 38 (1928) [pp. 311-343]
    Zipperstein, Edward, BUSINESS ETHICS AND JEWISH LAW, KTAV (New York, NY 1987)
    This listing is a `work-in-progress’ – additional suggested entries welcome.
    Jewish Labor Committee
    25 East 21st Street
    New York, NY 10010

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