Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Kosher

My goodness, it's been a while since I've written. I'm very much in the summer groove. Not much has really seemed all that bloggable. But today I came across something I wanted to share.

Many of you know that immigration issues are very dear to my heart. I've been following the stories about the recent ICE raid in Postville, Iowa at the country's largest kosher meat processor. I used to buy exclusively kosher meat because making that extra effort and paying that extra price reminded me that I'm Jewish and that eating meat was nothing to take lightly.

I've stopped buying kosher meat due to the horrific stories I'd been hearing about the Rubaskin operation which supplies what little kosher meat is available in Portland. According to Rabbi Amy Eilberg's recent sermon addressing the Rubashkin raid, workers consistently tell stories of abuse and fraud, sexual intimidation, unsafe working conditions, and more.

What I can't understand is how my fellow Jews can continue buying Rubashkin meat. I stopped buying it well before the recent raid when I realized I didn't want to support large scale factory farming and the wasteful shipping of meat across the continent. My meat purchases are rare anyway so I doubt anyone noticed. But the kosher meat industry is large and growing. Surely we can demand higher standards from our food. Kosher food is identified by a hechsher, a symbol that some authority has deemed it fit for Jews to eat. I'd like to see that certification be considerably more stringent and include the wellbeing of both workers and animals. Apparently I'm not alone as there are now folks working on establishing a hechsher tzedek to be given to foods that are produced without worker exploitation.

I fully support the hechsher tzedek and look forward to seeing it on my food. There's kosher and then there's kosher.

1 comment:

RedMolly said...

I'd buy that too, Jewish or not.

And happy belated birthday--I'm sorry I didn't get a greeting to you yesterday! Hope it was a wonderful day spent doing fun stuff with your crew.