Culture, Justice

Tav HaYosher launches in 7 NYC restaurants

Exactly one year to the day after revelations of highly treif labor practices at Agriprocessors, Uri L’Tzedek, the Orthodox Social Justice Movement, is publicly launching the Tav HaYosher, the ethical seal for kosher eating establishments. “After seeing the pain and suffering inflicted by our own kosher industry on the stranger and the poor, the very people the Torah demands we protect, we realized we needed to be proactive and make a change,” said Shmuly Yanklowitz, founder and co-director of Uri L’Tzedek.  “We asked ourselves – how can we, as Orthodox Jews, create a system to protect the standards that Jewish law and ethics demand?”
Check out the Tav HaYosher blog for the list of restaurants that carry it, more information on the project, and how you can get involved.
Also posted at – JTA, JCarrot, Chicago Tribune, Mixed Multitudes.

10 thoughts on “Tav HaYosher launches in 7 NYC restaurants

  1. So the Tav HaYosher is a reality and the Hechser Tzedek is still just a concept. How much more seed and foundation money is going to be wasted on it until they hecksher anything?

  2. Kishkeman: I don’t know about Heksher Tzedek, but I know Tav HaYosher only functions via some amazing volunteer work of college kids and rabbinical students — you know, people who have a little extra time and a non-fixed schedule.
    Definitely, HT needs to be given a little nudge (and the reality of Tav Ha’Y will probably do that), but we should all give a hell of a cheer to the people who *are* doing something…instead of hatin’ on the people who aren’t.

  3. HT as I understand it aims to be much more sweeping than 7 restaurants in Manhattan. The fact that we have yet to see the hechsher appear on any products is not an indication of failure or wasted money. Give it some time and you will see.
    Kol Hakavod to Tav HaYosher!

  4. highly treif labor practices
    You’re confusing kashrus with labor politics. No one in any position of halachic authority has EVER questioned the kashrus coming out of Postville. Shechita is a strict set of laws related to properly slaughtering animals, and very few companies in the world, much less massive corporations like Agriprocessors, adhere to the same level of kashrus.
    Agriprocessors was brought down for one simple reason – employment of illegal immigrants. I didn’t realize raiding and destroying businesses that employ illegal immigrants was a progressive value.
    All this pent up rage about the Rubashkins stems from one simple fact – a bunch of hassidic Jews went into some hick town in America and built a thriving kosher business that supplied hundreds of thousands of Jews with meat, upholding the highest grade of kashrus.

  5. Firouz- do commandments regarding pay standards, working conditions and treatment of the stranger within your midst mean anything to you? Highest Standard of Kosher to me would imply that no commandments were broken during the process, something that I think a highly dubious claim to make.

  6. Ruby,
    Show me the commandments regarding “pay standards”, “working conditions” and “treatment of the stranger within your midst”. Let’s get them down on paper in front of us and we’ll take it from there.
    Highest Standard of Kosher to me
    Ruby, kashrus has nothing to do with us and what we want. We don’t do it because it makes sense – sure, we can rationalize not causing pain to the animal, etc., but that’s not really an answer for why we keep kashrus – we do it because G-d told us to do it. The goyem were not told to do it, so they can kill cows with bats for all we care.
    The laws of Kashrus and Shechita are quite specific. First, let’s get those commandments you mentioned earlier down on paper. You have not yet proven to me that a single halacha was broken. Then, even if you do prove that a commandment was broken, you’ll have to prove that it has any relevance on kashrus and shechitah, which is a huge legal stretch.
    For example, let’s say – G-d forbid – that there is a murderer. He murders someone in front of two shabbos-observant witnesses, so there is no doubt that he is a murderer. Then he leans over and shechts a chicken with the best technique. Can a kosher-observant Jew eat that chicken?
    You are claiming that no, because he is a murderer, that shechita is invalid. That’s quite a statement. Now prove it.

  7. I should point out, in the case of Agriprocessors, that we don’t have two shabbos observant witnesses testifying to ANY halachic law breaking on their part – aside from employing illegal immigrants, which they probably just turned a blind eye to.
    To make the analogy complete, it would be like watching one person run after another into the house screaming that he is going to kill him, with a knife in his hand, and then walk out covered in blood. Even in such a case, because there were not two witnesses, we are not allowed to judge that he is a murderer.
    Therefore, condemning Agriprocessors on the basis of second hand rumor and innuendo, not to mention that the overwhelming majority of people doing this condemning have no understanding of the laws of kashrus and shechitah, smacks of something more sinister than a search for truth and justice.

  8. Firouz, take Kashrut out of the picture for the moment. (These guys at Tav haYosher are not involved with food Kashrut, but halakhic behavior.) Would you patron a non shomer-Shabbos Jewish business, food-related or otherwise? It’s the exact same principle. Only it’s with Dina Malkhisa Dina.
    Plus, the PETA footage of Agriprocessors some years ago shows some HIGHLY questionable Kashrut. Things may have improved on that front, anyway.
    (This is all moot for me, because I only eat Halaq Beit Yosef, which Agriprocessers is not.)

  9. B.BarNavi,
    One can demand a certain level of labor standards without attacking kashrus. As Ruby demonstrated, people with no ability or authority to question kashrus or shechitah now feel free to question and condemn Jews, based on second hand innuendo and personal feelings, not on the law itself. That is a true outrage!
    You ask me to take Kashrus aside, but you do not request that they do so!
    People are so far removed from shechitah. They think animals are just put to sleep and then, bing bang, show up on their cute plates roasted to perfection in little pieces.
    For someone who has not witnessed it, slaughter is a messy, disturbing process. It is the taking of a life, the release of an animal soul, for no other reason than our satisfaction and nourishment. Do any of you know what percentage of slaughtered animals is rejected in a Glatt Kosher slaughterhouse? 60-80%. Out of every 10 animals, between 2-4 continue down the kosher assembly line. The rest are sold to goyem because they do not meet kashrus standards.
    And why don’t they meet kashrus standards? Numerous reasons. Maybe there was just a tiny nick on the knife blade. You can feel it when you cut. Have you ever seen someone training for shechitah? How many chicken throats must one cut to be proficient at it? How many thrashing chickens are dropped before the blade fully, cleanly pierces their larynx? Have you ever shechted a cow? A massive beast whose throat is to be sliced in one clean movement of your hand? You can feel every muscle, every tendon, even the warm air rushing out of the lungs, mixed with the hot blood that gushes forth. Now repeat this 200 times in a day, or until your hand starts trembling from the strain. Mistakes happen, this is not a game.
    Most of the people accusing Agriprocessors have no clue what they’re talking about, yet they feel they should be part of the conversation. No, you – and you know who you are – don’t have authority to open your mouth on this subject. But it’s not fair? What’s not fair is allowing unlearned individuals to cast blame or suspicion on innocent people.

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