Absolut™-ly Kosher? Perhaps not in spirit

The Forward reports the OU now certifies 6 new Absolut™ Vodka flavors as kosher. The Problem? The OU is in the middle of a campaign to stop both teenaged drinking and shul kiddush clubs (a major facilitator of same), and Absolut™ is the second most flagrant liquor brand after Jack Daniels™ in targeting advertising to minors.

What do you think about this?

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6 Comments

Filed under Jewish Leadership, Kosher Business?

6 responses to “Absolut™-ly Kosher? Perhaps not in spirit

  1. Doresh

    Alcohol will always be a problem. by refusing to offer a hechsher we would be in effect banning it. Or at least hard liquor. Given that it used beheter and more importantly for mitsvos I think what you advocate is extreme.

    There have always been drunks but neither chazal, the rishonim or acharonim issued a blanket ban. IMHO its not like we now have a worse problem than in the past.

    Also the torah does hold of this under 21 not drinking alcohol. A 13 year old is chayiv to drink on purim and pesach. This concept of 21 to drink is a uniquely American idea. Other countries think the age is mad. And I have read much that suggests that the vehement prohibition of alcohol to minors only serves to want them to use it more and because they lack socialization they learn from the worst and abuse it.

    Far better to learn how to use alcohol from a young age.

    I find it funny that you often advocate chumras which are very inline with secular society. I find it troubling.

  2. Marc Gottlieb

    This seems like a poor justification for withholding a hechsher. After all, aren’t the strong family values instilled by Judaism one of its greatest assets? Shouldn’t parents just take greater responsibility for their children, rather than taking the easy way out?

    If you ask me, I think people are choosing to issue prohibitions and call it morality in a situation where a little self-control would be far more admirable. Not that I haven’t seen that before.

  3. Dovid Lerner

    I don’t find it hypocritical at all, Vodka is a substance which like anything tobbaco, medicine etc. can be abused. We shouldn’t refuse hashgacha based simply on the fact that they are abused by children.

    I don’t think a child will think that the OU on the label means, “there is nothing wrong with this!”

    To make it clear I am not justifying advertising to minors.

  4. Nigritude Ultramarine

    I am not at all surprised that the OU’s kashrus side is not in accord with the OU’s religious mission. The kashrus division is nothing more than a business, this is just one of many examples. How it manages to enjoy tax-exempt status is perplexing.

  5. Nigritude Ultramarine

    A 13 year old is chayiv to drink on purim and pesach

    I don’t think a 13-year-old and his developing body needs to get drunk to do any mitzvah:

    Pesach = four cups of grape juice
    Purim = perhaps a כוס of low alcohol wine followed by a nap.

    Stepping out during the haftorah to chug Absolut and Johnny Walker is not a mitzvah.

  6. Nigritude Ultramarine

    “Absolut vodka delivered virtually the same amount of advertising to youth as to the adult population in 2001.”

    Source: The Pew Charitable Trusts

    “I don’t know that Absolut’s marketing is toward the younger crowd.”

    Rabbi Eliyahu Safran
    VP of Communications and Marketing
    OU Kosher

    Riiight. A marcom VP knows nothing about the advertising practices of one of its biggest accounts.

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