The Campaign Against The Conservative Movement Begins

The campaign against the Conservative Movement’s new tzedek hechsher, a supervision that would attempt to ensure workers employed by companies getting kosher supervision from others are fairly treated, has begun in ernest. First, we had the Kosher Today smear of the Conservative Movement’s point man on this issue, Rabbi Morris Allen. Now Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum (affectionately known to several commenters on this site as "Gershon the Swindler"), the COO of Igud HaRabbonim (the so-called Rabbinical Alliance of America) has jumped in, using his Jewish Press column to threaten kosher food manufacturers who may be thinking of using the new tzedek hechsher:

In December 2006, a call came from outside the sphere of Orthodox kosher certifiers for a tsedek heckscher or justice certification that would ensure that kosher food producers “have met a set of standards that determine the social responsibility of kosher food producers, particularly in the area of worker rights.”

      The Orthodox Union issued a statement that labor issues were a matter for federal and local regulators, not kosher authorities. Rabbi Genack was reported as applauding the call to look at labor issues, given the weight of Jewish law dedicated to that topic. However, Rabbi Genack stressed that the effort cannot be allowed to blur the line between Jewish law regarding worker rights and Jewish law regarding the kosher standard of food.
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      On January 2, the Hisachdus Horabbonim issued a kol koreh proclamation condemning any efforts to dilute or becloud kosher supervision standards, nor to allow any other supervision standards to be applied to kosher certification halachahs. The proclamation was signed by three members of its Kashrus Beth Din: Rabbi Avrohom Yehoshua Heshel Bick, Mezebusher Rav; Rabbi Hillel Weinberger, Serdehaly Rav; and Rabbi Yitzchok Isaac Menachem Eichenstein, Galante Rebbe.

      The Hisachdus kol koreh called upon all observant Jews to reject the introduction of any type of tsedek heckscher, something never previously heard of. The Hisachdus views the suggestion as an attempt by those outside the observant community to infiltrate and dilute the existing framework of kashrus certifications. Rabbi Yitzchok Yechiel Glick, rav of Khal Beis Avrohom and executive director of the Hisachdus, stressed that any injection of social or humanitarian considerations, especially by outsiders, would be an unallowable breach of the time honored halachic administration of kashrus standards.   

        Every kosher food producer must repulse any attempts of introducing such alien impositions. Tolerating such infringement would be a first step in destroying halachic kashrus standards. The kol koreh calls upon kosher food producers as well as kashrus certifiers to maintain vigilance against any effort to pierce protective barriers now in place.

      The universally highly-regarded HaEdah HaCharedis Kashrus Beis Din in Jerusalem as well as Rabbi Shmuel Wosner, author of Shevet Levi and leading posek, have been alerted to the suspicious machinations of those attempting to impose the so-called hekhsher tzedek.…

Note these haredim use the old haredi argument – everything new is prohibitied – to come out against enforcing the Torah’s mandates on treatment of workers.

I suspect the next move will be for various supervisors to refuse to have their supervison mark appear with that of the tzedek hechsher. This will put tremendous pressure on manufacturers and will force many to avoid using the tzedek hechsher, which is, of course, what the haredim want, even if the motives behind the new hechsher are pure.

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24 Comments

Filed under Crime, Haredim, Kosher Business?, Kosher Meat Scandal, Price-Fixing, Rubashkin Worker Abuse

24 responses to “The Campaign Against The Conservative Movement Begins

  1. On January 2, the Hisachdus Horabbonim issued a kol koreh proclamation condemning any efforts to dilute or becloud kosher supervision standards, nor to allow any other supervision standards to be applied to kosher certification halachahs.

    Lots of kosher products have vegetarian hechshers, or halall hechshers. Would this ban forbid observant Jews from buying those products too?

    And of course, there has been an (Orthodox) tezedek hechsher in Jerusalem for years now.

  2. D

    “The Campaign Against The Conservative Movement Begins

    On January 2, the Hisachdus Horabbonim issued a kol koreh [blah-blah-blah]…”

    Well, what else DID you expect from the CRC-Hisachdus (not the Iggud; R. Tannenbaum is just reporting something done by another group); an interdenominational conference at the Javits Center!? They are known for being non-diplomatic about the concerns of the heterodox.

    Not much news here, I think.

  3. Suzanne

    Dear Larry.

    You mention: “there has been an (Orthodox) tzedek hechsher in Jerusalem for years now.” Do you have any more information about this?

    Please let me know. Thanks!

  4. Holy SHIT! THIS IS FUCKING SWEET! So much fodder, so much fodder… Sholom has been given the opportunity to spit much vitriol. HOORAY!

    Hey Chareidofucks, are you familiar ith the phrase “Al tiftach peh lasoton”?

    …And don’t click here.

  5. Neo-Conservaguy

    Translation: no one’s getting a piece of our pie. Can you imagine the amount of income at risk, at least in their perception?

  6. Excellent news, actually. I’ve been looking for some chumra… and boycotting any products with anti-tzedek hashgacha seems pretty reasonable to me.

  7. YoelB

    Of course, the OU is proud that it responded to market demand* and uses its hechsher as leverage to make sure that restaurants and caterers it supervises enforce modesty dress codes for their workers…
    But respond to market demand for “glatt yosher” products? chas v’challila!

    *The Restaurant: What Should the Certificate Certify?
    Rabbi Dov Schreier (MP3 audio at OU’s excellent Kosher Tidbits section on OUradio.org)

  8. Nigritude Ultramarine

    Lots of kosher products have vegetarian hechshers, or halall hechshers. Would this ban forbid observant Jews from buying those products too?

    As well as Fair Trade coffee and Fair Trade cocoa hechsherim.

  9. Nigritude Ultramarine

    Can you imagine the amount of income at risk, at least in their perception?

    You beat me to it — it’s all about job security.

  10. yossi

    Israeli tzedek hechsher-
    http://www.tav.org.il/abouttav.asp

    It has nothing to do with animal rights concerns, only worker and handicap accessibility.

  11. Anonymous

    >it’s all about job security.

    In fairness, the CRC-Hisachdus Horabbonim has little to worry AFA hasagas g’vul (impinging on another’s livelihood) goes with the Tzedek Hekhsher. Few, if any, of the products they certify are consumed by the non-heimische kosher consumer. Really, when was the last time you saw their mark on any item at your local big-box supermarket?

    Their objection here is pure staring-down-the-nose, we’re-superior-to-all-you-jewish-goyim preening.

  12. Yochanan Lavie

    So, it’s okay to have multiple hechsherim for products, but God forbid the Conservatives pile on! What hypocrisy!

    (I never understood why you need more than one hechsher anyway- except as a business racket. If the OU says something is good,why do I need Reb Berel Shmerel and Klall, too?)

  13. C-G

    Any idea what the criteria will be to obtain the tzedek hechsher and how much it would cost?

  14. formallyfrum

    I would think that with all the propaganda from the frum leaders, how Torah law is so ethical and moral (much more than man made law)that they would welcome and embrace such a hechsher.
    In addition, “The Orthodox Union issued a statement that labor issues were a matter for federal and local regulators, not kosher authorities.” This statement is shocking to me, the rabbis are saying this workers rights, abuse should be dealt with with the GOVERNMENT. However these could a problem if the worker is Jewish. How can the worker report “workers abuse” since if one does so he will labeled a Mossar, and excommunicated.

    Why is it that workers rights should be left to the “authorities” but CHILD ABUSE should be left to the Rabbis to deal with.

  15. Ben Qor'ha (Baldwin)

    meanwhile, back at the ranch, the holy noshomos, true diamonds in the rough,
    resume their rampage. this time desecrating a cemetary
    http ://www. ynetnews.com/ articles/0,7340,L-3356741,00.html
    mamesh (that’s mem, mem” shin- like oyso davor ocheyr) precious yiddishe neshomos, one by one a real reincarnation of the ovos, oops of the avos…

  16. Ben Qor'ha (Baldwin)

    formally frum,
    unfortunately, what we have left in judaism is precious little.
    the vocabulary of rabbis is straight from orwellian “animal farm” or “1984”.
    when they say ethics, it’s no longer ethics, when they say rectitude, it’s not rectitude.
    you raise a very valid point.
    are we to rely on deen torah or on the government?
    the answer the OU is offering is:
    which side of the rabbis mouths the instructions will come out, depends on the convenience of the day.
    unfortunately, hypocrisy of the OU, is hardly lesser than that of the notorious the ‘hareidi camp-where any expectation of intelligence of members of their flocks is totally trampled out of existence.
    observance is no longer for the ‘hakhamim (originally meaning intelligents) but rather the the idiots (peta-eem, kesseelim).
    when the prohibition of murder, or of robbery is relative and not absolute -depending who is murdered and who is being robbed; when the importance of life saving (metzitza bepeh or poor hygiene in kosher food supply chain) is secondary to inflated egos of medieval “rabbis”; when contemporary “rabbis” present themselves as stricter than 11th century CE Maimonides,
    when nothing make sense,
    what should one expect? we are back to being abraham avinus discovering monotheism on our own.
    as to the conservative, they can hardly be taken seriously with the ethical hechsher -as important as it is-, as long as they accept(indeed ‘must’ rely willingly on) orthodox slaughter, orthodox sofreem etc… why should anybody take them seriously when they themselves do not take themselves seriously.
    with their kowtowing to orthodoxy, they come across as no more than a social club of convenience totally devoid of thora-even of their own.

    chabad is no different except that they have the added scandalous now overt idolatery.

  17. Garnel Ironheart

    Nothing like a little flash of light to attract all the idiot moths.
    First of all, for 95% of Conservatists, hecshers of any kind are unimportant. They’ll see the new “Tzedek hechsher”, which will be as small and nearly unnoticed as the real ones, and just figure it’s another hechsher but just as the OU and Kof-K symbols don’t influence their choice of foods, neither will this one.
    Second, is the hechsher going to be free? It’s another cash cow, only this time the JTS is going to get the reward instead of the OU or the other groups. In a movement that is steadily declining in numbers and relevance, any source of new income would be welcomes.
    Third, these “tzedek” things get mangled very quickly. Look what the Reformers and Conservatists have done with “tikun olam”. What used to mean “maintaing order for the sake of the public” has become a code word to allow non-religious Jews to embrace every leftist feminazi-ecoterrorist cause and then claim they’re “doing Jewish”. Do you think this tzedek hechsher will be different? What happens when motivated parties in teh JTS decide that only unionized companies wil qualify, irregardless of working conditions? What defines good worker treatment? How generous does the medical plan have to be? What happens when they make “organic” a precondition? This is mess that will just go nowhere.

  18. B”H
    Shalom everyone!
    I have mixed feelings about this.
    On one hand it seems like a good idea to have such an heksher on the other hand the heterodox movements don’t have that much credibility in my eyes as they reject the Torah and the good people among them sit
    on the same boards as those who reject Torah and halocha thus giving them credibility.
    The “good news” for the Orthodoxy at least is that in all likelihood if this heksher continues to exist for awhile there will be somewhat fewer stories about Orthodox being corrupt but instead of Conservative rabbinate
    rubber-stamping unethical behavior for bribes and the like. Welcome to the club!…:-) 😦

  19. Neo-Conservaguy

    “On one hand it seems like a good idea to have such an heksher on the other hand the heterodox movements don’t have that much credibility in my eyes as they reject the Torah and the good people among them sit
    on the same boards as those who reject Torah and halocha thus giving them credibility.”

    From where do you get that bizarre and incorrect idea? Reject Torah? Hardly! What the Conservative movement rejects is a medieval-centric approach to understanding halachic development in a modern world.

    Time keeps on turning, turning, turning, into the future…

  20. Yochanan Lavie

    I think Neo is correct about the classical Conservative movement, which I admire. More recently, prominent Conservative rabbis have been frank about the idea that they are no longer a Halachic movement. (I think Neil Gilman, but I might be wrong). Ideologically, they are moving leftward towards Reform, which is itself moving towards more traditionalism.

    Nevertheless, the tsedik hechsher is a good idea. (As long as it doesn’t become excessively politically correct, as another poster feared). I don’t see how an additional non-Orthodox hechsher on top of an Orthodox one invalidates the latter.

    I am not going to reject a good idea, no matter what the source.

  21. D

    “What the Conservative movement rejects is a medieval-centric approach to understanding halachic development in a modern world.”

    Oh spare us!

    What the Conservative movement rejects is the Torah given by G-d. Rather, “god” takes the form of E, J, P and R who were “divinely inspired” authors. And Torah shel Ba’al Peh? Fughedaboudit, never happened! Now, I can get pretty divinely inspired myself after a few bong hits, lemme tallyah, so I’ll take on that alphabet soup any ol’ day…

    That said, I’ll let the movement have whatever hekhsher they feel appropriate. If there is a market for it then it will last. Of course, it’s not like they’re the least bit interested in my approval before proceeding.

  22. Balaam's Donkey

    I’m blown away by how much people will tear apart the Conservative movement’s ideology in the context of such an issue, yet don’t seem to care as to whether or not our kosher meat producers treat both employees and animals like shit.

    And that’s true, we at JTS totally reject halacha. Why, the Talmud department is just an empty broom closet in the basement.

    But, you know, like D above, I can handle completely misinformed criticisms of the movement with which I am affiliated institutionally if not ideologically. The Conservative movement actually accepts the belief that the Torah came from God, as it supports a plurality of theological perspectives among its constituents. That’s the fun part of not being fundamentalist idiots. We can explore and enjoy a whole range of ideas before rejecting them.

  23. Neo-Conservaguy

    Like the Ass, I can tell you the legitimate problems of the Conservative movement from first hand knowledge. That I acknowledge the issues of “my group” already sets me apart from most Orthodox supports. However, as the Ass brayed above, your understanding of the ideology at JTS and/or the RA is flawed at best. In short, higher and/or lower biblical criticism does not preclude a belief in divine revelation. There is a wide, wide range of beliefs encompassing Torah miSinai, the destruction and recreation of the mikra, and everything that happened in between. Big deal. So what?

  24. I love Garnel’s tossing out “feminazi.” I assume it was feminazis who killed 3 million Jewish men during WWII, right?

    Get a clue: For Rush Limbaugh et al to be dismissive of feminists and the Holocaust in one word is a two-fer. Are you sure you’re not an Iranian plant?

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