Bintel Blog

This Week in the World of Kosher

By Nathaniel Popper

  • Print
  • Share Share

What goes into making food kosher?

The debate over this question has recently raged in America after the poor working conditions at the Agriprocessors kosher slaughterhouse were exposed. The new Magen Tzedek certification has proposed that kosher food follow certain labor and environmental standards, but many Orthodox rabbis have disputed whether kosher certification can encompass anything more than the strict rules of kashrut.

Israelis are having their own version of this debate, looking at whether kosher certification should look at more than how the food is prepared. The chief rabbinate in Israel, which provides most kosher certification in the country, wanted to pull its kosher certification of a bakery owned by a Messianic Jew — a Jew for Jesus. The Israeli Supreme Court said that the chief rabbinate could not hold this baker to a higher standard than any other baker: “The Kashrut Law states clearly that only legal deliberations directly related to what makes the food kosher are relevant, not wider concerns unrelated to food preparation.”

In making its decision, the court cited a famous previous decision about an American-émigré belly dancer. In that decision, the court had ruled that the performances of the belly dancer at a hotel or catering hall could not be used to disqualify the site for kosher supervision.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the debate over kashrut has taken a different form during a European Union session on creating unified standards for animal slaughter. Last month, the British Farm Animal Welfare Council released a report stating that kosher and halal slaughter did cause animals “significant pain and distress.” In the end, though, the European Union passed a regulation protecting kosher slaughter in all EU member states — thus exempting religious slaughter from a requirement that all animals be stunned before they are killed.

No word came from Brussels on the belly dancing issue.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Magen Tzedek, Kosher, Jews for Jesus, European Union

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.


Comments
Jonathan Loring Tue. Jun 30, 2009

I would have thought by now the Magen Tzedek would have given its seal of approval on some product. But to the best of my knowledge the Magen Tzedek is still just a concept. It is not a reality. Why don't you, Mr. Popper, write an article about how long the Magen Tzedek is taking to truly be a part of the marketplace?




Find us on Facebook!
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.