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July 01, 2008

FailedMessiah.com Linked In Wall Street Journal – So Are FM Readers Aharon Varady and Yochanan Lavie

In a story about Agriprocessors called Raid Unsettles Kosher Beliefs:

Wsj 1

Wsj 2

Please click to enlarge.

Link number two is longtime Failedmessiah reader and commenter Aharon Varady's blog. Even better, the link is to a post Ahron did on a poem written and posted here by our own Yochanan Lavie.

Link number three is another FM reader and the post is based on one of my posts – and links to it.

Number four is the RA.

It is a great honor to be linked by the WSJ. That honor is multiplied many times over when it includes being liked with friends like Aharon Varady and Yochanan Lavie.

For Wall Street Journal readers visiting here for the first time, please visit the Agriprocessors / Rubashkin Family main index page. For specific posts on the latest immigration raid and its aftermath, go here.

[Hat Tip: Dr. Gershon Mendel.]

Raid Unsettles Kosher Beliefs - WSJ.com.pdf

Comments

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Many kudos to FM receiving this kind of exposure, which may hasten the extinction of the cruel and inhumane Rubashkin food animal enterprises.

But we must remember to give HaShem the full credit, as He is the One pulling all of the strings.

Actually, give all credit to the Rebbe. He is the One pulled all the strings. All Hail the Rebbe Shlita.

Yes, we should give the Rebbe some credit.

He is the one who gave his blessings to Rubashkin to set up his 'Animal Horror House" in Postville.

Actually, give all credit to the Rebbe. He is the One pulled all the strings. All Hail the Rebbe Shlita.

Pulled?

I thought he was still pulling the strings.

Or is it that he will pull the strings again when he comes back?

Avi Shafran monitors the WSJ daily and often pens rebuttal letters the editor. Most of them don't get through in the print edition although it's easier to weasel in comments in the WSJ's OpinionJournal forum.

There are more stories in major pubs coming down and there is nothing Lubinsky or 5W can do about it. Wait for it.

There is nothing more powerful than the truth.

The best thing 5W can do for its own reputation is to resign the Rubashkin account.

well if failedmessiahs biased yellow jurnalism makes the cut for the wall street journal, their rag must be failing extraordinarily!

Aftsaluchus!!!!

Who in the h-ll is chnyock?

It's funny in the wsj story how the writer mistakes the name of Rabbi Weissmandl and calls him Rabbi Weiss Mandl.

[The best thing 5W can do for its own reputation is to resign the Rubashkin account.]

Absolutely !!!!

When the Rubashkin Titanic finally sinks, many others are also going to go down with the ship.

Right now, they are on the "Poopdeck" praying to HaShem for a miracle, one that cannot occur.

who the hell is the john, k diamond?

nobody cares!

Chnyock,

You need to stop staring at 15 year old girl's panties, you pervert. Even if you are 15 years old yourself.

http://chnyock.blogspot.com/2008/06/nice-undies.html

Just and Kosher
An Uneeded Redundancy, a Financial Burden, and an Opportunistic Venture

By: Wolf Blachore

Change for change’s sake is a flawed argument doomed to failure. The motivation behind any successful cause campaign stems largely from events fresh in the minds of the targeted public. Without an urgency looming, the cause is likely doomed to failure in a wastefully prolonged struggle that eventually vexes the public. Activism needs a cause, but even more, it needs the motivation; without the latter, there is no reason for change.

The case of Agriprocessors in Postville, IA, a large national kosher meat producer, is a prime example of politics being played and activism being employed for the sake of a cause that may indeed have little to do with the situation in Postville itself. The call for a new breed of kosher certification, one that steps beyond the pages of Biblical scripture and into the realm of the ever evolving, is the cause; the situation that Agriprocessors finds itself in now, following the largest illegal immigrant raid in U.S. history that took place at the company’s Postville, Iowa plant, is the motivation.

Is the cause just? Is the call for a kosher certification that employs the term Tzedek (righteousness) - a cause that has already started rumors and gossip, has harmed reputations, can potentially destroy the economy of a small town, has spurned a fight between streams of Jews, and even within the streams itself, and that is backed by a bizarre cross-section of supporters who may have never come together before – one that needs to be heard?

There has been a rush to judgment against this large producer of kosher meat. For its part, Agriprocessors has broadened the availability of kosher meat across the country in every direction. To get there, during its 20-year history, the company employed thousands of people, some of whom were illegal immigrants in the U.S. In addition there is the argument that the company has had numerous worker safety issues, employee harassment complaints, health code violations and other concerns. Some of these are genuine matters that need fixing, while others are part and parcel of the type of work, the nature of the staff and the size of the workforce – hence, issues that are unfortunate, but not necessarily programmatic policies of the company or its management team.

It should be known, that to date, there are no charges of any kind, just innuendo, hearsay and saber rattling for a cause.

The players in this game have primarily been People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA); a labor union that is attempting to unionize the plant; a Conservative Jewish rabbi attempting to create a new kosher certification called Heksher Tzedek (Justice based kosher certification); and group of students from the liberal Orthodox rabbinical New York school Chochvei Torah who wish to form an Orthodox kosher certification call Uri L’Tzedek (Awaken to Justice).

Each group seems to have its own agenda, but when agendas converge, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” PETA wants to ban kosher slaughter; heck, it wants to ban animal slaughter altogether and have us all embrace vegetarianism.

The union wants the plant to organize.

Rabbi Morris Allen, the Conservative Rabbi, sees a golden opportunity to get in on the business of kashrut and begin what he views as a universally accepted kosher certification that can rival those of the existing Orthodox ones.

Finally, the Yeshiva Chochvei Torah, is trying to use this as the wedge to open the door to acceptance and no longer be in the shadow of Yeshiva University.

This is not a battle against one kosher meat producer. It’s an attack by converging agendas; socialist, liberal vegetarianism, and opportunist (The start a new financially driven kosher-standard), all the while interfering with a capitalistic system. Let it also be clear that the two people leading the efforts behind the different “T’Zedek” movements, Shmuly Yanklowitz of Chochvei and Rabbi Morris Allen are themselves vegetarians, and together with PETA, they’re in similar company; hardly the ones to objectively pursue a cause that will effectively raise the prices of meat and potentially reduce the current widespread availability of kosher meat within this country.

Certainly Agriprocessors needs some fixing, but that is not the issue. PETA can wage its own war against a meat processor, and we can all be sure that it will. Agriprocessors is but one in the sea of many that it must contend with. The labor union can and will fight to unionize, PETA/Rabbi coalition or not. That leaves us with the pressing fight taking hold - arena of kosher supervision and holy wars between and among the different streams in Judaism.

Rabbi Allen organized a group of Bnai Brith teens who then issued a press release calling for rallies and an “avoidance” (not a boycott) of Agriprocessors’ meat from their camps without doing the just thing and asking for more information. In the news release, the teen leaders quoted newspaper stories as their source of valid information. That is like suggesting that The New York Times’ accounts of news on Israel is reality. Is this the right thing to do, rather than searching for the truth or the solution the problem? Is their “avoidance” for the purpose of getting Agriprocessors to shape up or is it to put them out of business?

Uri L’Tzedek claims to have 1,500 signatures garnered from the Internet and email polling. Seeing that there are hundreds of thousands of kosher eating Jews in the United States, 1,500 is hardly a sampling.

So what is Tzedek and how is it to be meted out in terms of kosher laws? Will justice mean merely that a company must treat its workers nicely? Will it mean to keep employee and financial dealings in accordance with federal, state and local laws? It will be nearly impossible to accomplish. Almost every business or entrepreneur has some area where he is playing financial games with taxes, cash, charitable donations and employee issues. Will there be a limit as to how much of a law “bender” one can be to be considered a Tzedek Tdzadik (Righteous person)? Will Agriprocessors be expected to maintain perfection, but small grocery stores and restaurants in which the dishwashers, stockroom clerks, cooks and janitors may be illegal can get a “Tzedek” free pass? Will other slaughterhouses be called to task, or dairy producers and candy makers? Whose morality will they be expected to uphold? Mine? Yours? Rabbi Allen’s? Mr. Yanklowitz’?

It would seem to be a highly subjective feat getting everyone together on one ideal; and a great challenge to see the rule book remain unchanged as business owners complain that it is too onerous, or as consumers ease their ideal requirements to fill their true needs, and as the need to fund the oversight increases.

As it remains, we’re not at this point yet, because the excitement of knocking the Iowa plant to pave the way for this Tzedek undertaking is just too great. Ask yourself this question: When the dust settles, Agriprocessors and its compliance professionals bring the company up to speed, and everyone can get their meat again as they did before, how robust will the call and drive for Tzedek be then?

The truth is that many meat processors have similar issues like those affecting Agriprocessors, yet Agriprocessors became the sacrificial lamb (pun fully intended) because of its size, growth and market dominance in both the kosher and non kosher industries. Frankly, it was an easy target that perhaps also painted the target on itself. For PETA, there is no kind way to kill an animal, and for the faint of heart, there are not many people in the United States who want those kinds of jobs.

Agriprocessors hired people who needed jobs, and now they are looking to the homeless; offering them jobs, residences and a chance to get back up. That is Tzedek that you do not see too often, and it matters not that it may be rooted in necessity rather than philanthropy. Jobs are jobs, and a second chance is priceless.

Before you join efforts to judge and execute, take a look at the issue, the source and the whole picture. A Heksher Tzedek is unrealistic. The marketplace, we the consumers, are smart enough to know what we want, and our own desire to buy a product, patronize an establishment or find an alternative, can guide a company’s fate. The success of the Toyota Prius is a prime example. Few automakers had the gumption to move toward hybrids quickly, so it was the consumers who helped push the giants to move faster.

We must not allow some organization or group to legislate Tzedek for us. It will never conform to anything any individual could ever live up to or even believes he must. Legislating religion is bad politics, and bad policy. Kosher certification needs to be transparent, but the principles of kosher do not need to be changed.

###

Wolf Blachore is a sociologist who has a specialty in Jewish history and activism. He has published several articles on the evolution of Jewish laws and lores.

[PETA wants to ban kosher slaughter]

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WOW!!!!

This is a BOLD FACED LIE, among the many others, too numerous to respond to.

To understand why you have lied, visit:

[http://www.goveg.com/feat/agriprocessors/letters.asp]

and read ALL of the posted letters.

If not, don't again insult the rest of us on this blog, who have.

Although, I disagree with you regarding the allegation against Rubashkins and I don’t believe any of the allegations other then the fact, they hired illegal workers. But theoretically speaking, if the abuse and sexual harassment allegations were true then I would also refrain from eating Rubashkin meat.

My problem is with this New Hechshser Tzedek, if it ever kicks off, G-d forbid.

First of all, instead of just boycotting Rubashkin, let them offer an alternative. As of now, all they managed to do is get stores to stop buying Rubaskin meat screwing whomever lives there. They have not offered alternatives.

A manager of large store near IL, told me that he received a phone call from these Hechsher Tz kids asking him to stop buying from Rubashkin, he replied find me another company who will supply me out here and then ill stop, nobody called him back.

Already, companies have a very hard time paying for their kosher symbol, Mashgiach vdal. Prices on meat and kosher products are through the roof. Instead of making a New symbol focus on getting the OU and the OK to have ethical requirements before giving a Hechsher. It can only be accomplished by approaching big companies like coke, Snapple and getting them to request it. A new Hechsher nobody can afford, not the people or the companies.



More propaganda from the Rubashkin Klan

http://www.kabbalahcast.org/index.php?id=extended_update&id2=121

Rubashkins

By Getzy Markowitz

Archie
It's nice to know for a fact as you seem to know that it is all propaganda from Rubashkin. As I recall, Archie was an ignorant racist... Maybe this is telling of the pseudonym you chose.

Instead of offering catch phrases, try rebutting with actual commentary. Why is a hechsher zedek so good for the Jews? How will morality be legislated? Forget Agriprocessors right now - talk about Zedek my racist friend.

Do I want your seemingly odd morality advising on what is kosher and not?

If meat is slaughtered right, but not Zedek approved, do I need to take my pots to a mikvah? Tell me something other than what I know you'll already say.

Hi Shalom Ash,

Here are two alternatives to Rubashkin:

1. Blackwings Kosher Bison
2. Rosenblatts Texas Kosher Beef

Both are totally ethically as well as ritually Kosher.

Pass this info on to others you know and ask them to both patronize their business and encourage folks they know to do the same.

Charles,

before you flew off the handle, maybe you should have asked me a few questions.

I believe the Rubashkins are frauds but I also think the "hechsher tzedek" is a farce from a bunch of self-serving hypocrites. While Morris Allen and his gang may have >some< sincere motivations, their overall agenda stinks. Maybe it will serve some purpose if they manage to embarass the OU shysters enough to get their act together.

is all i asked.

That's why I actually find this piece above more interesting. Let's start another kosher organization. Great idea!

Thanks

A manager of large store near IL, told me that he received a phone call from these Hechsher Tz kids asking him to stop buying from Rubashkin, he replied find me another company who will supply me out here and then ill stop, nobody called him back.

BS.

All other kosher meat providers use distributors. Those distributers cover most of the country.

Further, Aurora Meats is based in IL.

Lastly, Hechsher Tzedek does not call up stores and tell them not to carry Rubashkin.

Tell your friends to stop lying.

Is local kosher slaughter and prearation, say, of poultry, now just impossible? Is centralized slaughter absolutely built into orthodox capitalist economics?

It’s not B.S but that’s irrelevant

My point is that the way Hechsher Tzuduki is handling it; all they will manage to do is raise the prices on kosher products!

And by the way, numerous Shluchim with schools received calls asking them to stop buying Rubashkin meat. If it’s not the Hechsher T making the calls then someone is doing it in their names. Ask your local Chabad friends, if they received a call.

I know with certainty Hechsher Tzedek is not making those calls.

Your sources are wrong or are lying.

First of all, instead of just boycotting Rubashkin, let them offer an alternative. As of now, all they managed to do is get stores to stop buying Rubaskin meat screwing whomever lives there. They have not offered alternatives.

That would be a valid point, if there were no questions concerning the kashrut of Rubbishcan's meat.

With all of the issues involved regarding the slaughtering practices, etc. there seems to be justifiable reason to doubt kashrut in this case (just as many freely express doubt - for reasons on one knows - that triangle-K is really kosher).

So, in reality, those who REALLY want to keep kosher could be "screwing" themselves by eating Rubbishcan. I would think that it is worse to eat non-kosher meat than to deal with trying to find a verifiably kosher alternative. Therefore, I would think that anyone who is truly serious about kashrut would opt to avoid making a serious mistake and would avoid Rubbishcan until all questions are answered without a doubt.

Kids make phone calls along these lines all the time as a joke. Now that Rubashkin is on everyone's radar screen, I could see young troublemakers (not that it's a bad thing in this case) calling butcher stores and restaurants impersonating the Conservative or Uri Letzedek people.

As posted previously:

Here are two alternatives to Rubashkin:

1. Blackwings Kosher Bison
2. Rosenblatts Texas Kosher Beef

Both are totally ethically as well as ritually Kosher.

Pass this info on to others you know and ask them to both patronize their business and encourage folks they know to do the same.

What happened to the 5W trolls? Did Rubashkin stop paying them already?

http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/article/20080627/NEWS05/308094532&SearchID=73322446607916

FORECLOSURE RISK: Ogdensburg, county officials meet chief of kosher company

By DAVID WINTERS
TIMES STAFF WRITER
FRIDAY, JUNE 27, 2008
OGDENSBURG — The city and St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency are threatening to foreclose on the kosher cheese plant if delinquent utility payments, property taxes and loans aren't paid.

City officials met for about 30 minutes Thursday with Ahava Dairy aka St. Lawrence Food Corp. President Moise A. Banayan to discuss the unpaid bills. The St. Lawrence Food Corp., which operates the North Country Manufacturing Inc. kosher plant at 30 Main St., owes the city about $600,000.

The IDA and the city will jointly file a foreclosure notice. The IDA is owed about $335,000 on two loans totaling $500,000. Loan payments haven't been made since December, IDA Chief Executive Officer Raymond H. Fountain said.

"We want to see them making cheese and employing people," Mr. Fountain said. "We don't want to own a cheese plant."

The outstanding city bills include $200,000 in payments on the mortgage used to purchase the property, about $90,000 each on the 2006 and 2007 property tax bills, nearly $60,000 in fines from improper discharges to the city's wastewater treatment plant and about $160,000 for water and sewer services.

The deadline for making a property tax payment was Monday.

City Manager Arthur J. Sciorra said of the meeting that Mr. Banayan was looking to "cut a deal of some kind" to settle the delinquent bills, but a written offer would have to be submitted for the city to review. He also said Mr. Banayan was looking to refinance some of his debt.

Ahava Foods Corp., Brooklyn, operates the Primo Foods and North Country Manufacturing kosher plant. The plant is affiliated with Lewis County Dairy Corp., Lowville. All are operated by Mr. Banayan. The Ogdensburg plant employed about 60 full-time workers last July, according to company officials.

Mr. Banayan couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.

In April, the Ogdensburg Growth Fund Development Corp. was seeking $246,623 plus more than $60,000 interest owed by Mr. Banayan under the terms of a $350,000 Growth Fund loan made in 2004. He hadn't made any payments on the loan since April 30, 2007, according to city officials. Growth Fund officials didn't return calls for comment Thursday on the status of the loan.

http://theunorthodoxjew.blogspot.com/2008/06/money-laundering-scheme-that-involved.html

Ahava Dairy is the Rubashkin of Milchdiks said...
Yudel Shain once caught them forging the teudas kashrus of Chug Chasam Sofer for some meats they import from Israel.

http://yudelstake.blogspot.com/2008/06/ahava-dairy-in-financial-dificulties.html

Anonymous said...
This company is another scandal-plagued loser under the banner of the Crown Heights Beis Din.

This is a huge chilul Hashem. They operate in areas so far north that the is hours away from even a small city. The Ahava shysters are the only Jews that these rural gentiles ever come in contact with. What a way to make an impression on behalf of Klal Yisroel.

Anonymous said...
It's alledged that when Ahava dairy was at Kreiders farm in PA, they took Kreider for a ride in the tune of some $300,000.

And they took HOD-LAVAN from Israel a ride for some $180,000.00

And they short weight some of their commercial size products 'cause the inspectors don't weigh the commercial size only the retail.

To the people who post page-long articles and rants into the comment section of this blog: Can you be any more obnoxious? Why not just put a link!?

ALL of the newspaper articles I've read about Agriprocessors have dealt with the ethical concerns of kosher consumers. Yet, 70% of Agriprocessors products are sold to non-kosher consumers. What about the rest of us?

I'd like to see some balanced reporting on this issue.


Wolf,

basically, your arguments come down to exactly what the rubashkin apologists have been saying since the outset.

1) everybody does it
2) you cannot judge
3)hey, they make sure that kosher meat is affordable to all

not one of these arguments holds water, and i would love to know where you got your sociology degree from, if you have studied economics, or if you have ever learned halacha.

1) everyone does not do it. at least not in the kosher industry. if you have evidence to the contrary, please link to it. to compare some yutz who hires an illegal to clean his house or mow his lawn, is a disengenous argument.

2)of course we can judge...the concept of not casting the first stone is a christian one...dan lkaf kchus does not have to be granted here, because of the mountain of evidence that has piled up over the years

3)rubashkin has been succesful in positioning itself as the leader in the kosher market, however, in doing so, it has not caused competition in pricing...on the contrary, it has done what wallmart has done...been succesful in driving out competitors

this isnt a case of someone just "bending" the law...this is a case of someone using their connections with the bush crime family in order to maximize profit, and the questions remain in regards to how much meat labeled as kosher was in fact treife.

this is as a result of orgs like the ou being advocates for the company they are supposed to be overseeing....a wholly incestuous relationship.

so please, do some critical thinking, and dont come here with the company line

What about the rest of us?

Rubashkin products are not fit for human consumption.

++I know with certainty Hechsher Tzedek is not making those calls.++

You are correct - the group works the back end and the back end only. They have no interest or contact with retailers.

"Rubashkin products are not fit for human consumption."

Nor are they fit to be consumed by a dog.

We must consider sitting in awe.

At the same time HaShem is bringing down Rubashkin, the worst example of meat Kashrut abuses in history, He's simultaneously bringing down Banayan, the worst case of dairy Kashrut abuses in history.

There seems to be a very clear message here, don't mess with the Big Boss.

Forget the criminal activity of the Rubashkin crime family.

The question is:

Is Rubashkin meat even Kosher, at all?

Todays Wall Street Journal reports that the cheif Rabbi Supervising Rubashkin, Rabbi Weismandel, admidted that he does not supervise Rubashkins Meat during cutting and packing.

This means Rubashkins Illegal Aleins could cut and pack PIG inside the Kosher Supervision labeled packages and the Rabbi would have no idea since he does not supervise cutting and packing!

BTW:
Rabbi Weismandel: - Piv Hichshiloy! -
It translates to: "It's a Fraudian Slip" or you could translate it as:
"Rabbi Weismandel Put his foot into his mouth".

From www.DaasHakohol.com :
__________________

Rabbi Weismandel: - Piv Hichshiloy!

Rabbi Weismandel who is in control of the entire kashrus operation at Rubashkin and whom the CHK relies on completely, for the CHK certification, since the (CHK Rav-Hamachshir, himself, is almost never present, in Iowa, to supervise), admitted to the Wall Street Journal, that his "Kosher SUPERVISION" is not active during the Cutting and Packing of Rubashkins Meat and that that therefore any alleged abuse or other criminal activity at Rubashkin's, is without his awareness, since it is "NOT THE KOSHER part".

According to Today's (7/1/2008) Wall Street Journal:

Rabbi Weiss Mandel, top supervisory rabbi for kosher certification at the plant, says: "We were not aware of any mistreatment of workers." However, he added, "we are not involved with cutting and packing...That's not the kosher part."

This admission by Rabbi Weismandel, confirms what many (including Rabbi Shain, (Brother of Rabbi Eliyaho Shain the Mohel of C.H.) a Kashrus Whistle-Blower and long time, very vocal critic, of Rubashkins Meat) have been saying for years, that -

Their is no proper supervision, at Rubashkin's Meat, especially during the cutting and packing and that there are numerous LABEL MIX-UPS, including the possibility of mixing up labels, between different Levels of Kashrus (the "OU" vs the CHK and Weissmandels, level of Kashrus) and the potential possibility exists of Mix-ups even between Rubashkin's Kosher vs Rubashkin's Non-Kosher meat which is sold to Goyim, because of the difficulty in TRACKING Rubashkin's Meat which is rendered Traif and is destined to be sold to Goyim - Mix-ups CAN potentially happen, very easily.

Now it's officially confirmed by Rabbi Weismandel "Mesaper Lefi Tumo" and "Piv Hichshiloy" that he has no idea what's going on during Cutting and Packing and "It's not (the) Kosher Part" and that's how "he washes his hands clean", why he is not responsible for all the recent scandals of alleged Crimes and other Wrongdoing at Rubashkin.

Besides very serious Kashrus Mix-ups and or Mix-ups between Kosher and Trief, at the very least it would be "Basar Shenisalma Min Haayin", if there is no supervision, at all times, and if the Goyim can do whatever they want INCLUDING SWITCHING MEAT and if Wiesmandle is oblivious, to what's going on and to what is happening during the Cutting and Packing.

Wolf said ...

"Is the cause just? Is the call for a kosher certification that employs the term Tzedek (righteousness) - a cause that has already started rumors and gossip, has harmed reputations, can potentially destroy the economy of a small town, has spurned a fight between streams of Jews, and even within the streams itself, and that is backed by a bizarre cross-section of supporters who may have never come together before – one that needs to be heard?"

The biggest harm to reputations, the town of Postville and to klal Yisroel has not come from any of the groups you mentioned, but from the Rubashkin’s themselves in their arrogance and hubris.

"There has been a rush to judgment against this large producer of kosher meat."

Wrong. This situation has been going on for years and many, many people with expertise in the meat and poultry industry have raised these issues directly with the Rubashkins. They have chosen to ignore people who wanted to work with them for the betterment of the community.

"For its part, Agriprocessors has broadened the availability of kosher meat across the country in every direction."

Agreed.

"To get there, during its 20-year history, the company employed thousands of people, some of whom were illegal immigrants in the U.S."

There have also been rumors of strong-arm efforts and small butcher shops that were put out of business by their tactics.

"In addition there is the argument that the company has had numerous worker safety issues, employee harassment complaints, health code violations and other concerns. Some of these are genuine matters that need fixing, while others are part and parcel of the type of work, the nature of the staff and the size of the workforce – hence, issues that are unfortunate, but not necessarily programmatic policies of the company or its management team."

Wrong. 1) Because others do it,doesn’t make it right before Hashem or US jurisprudence. 2) There is enough already known, including below industry standard wages, to know that these were “programmatic policies of the company or its management team.”

"It should be known, that to date, there are no charges of any kind, just innuendo, hearsay and saber rattling for a cause."

Savlanut. Charges will come. In the meantime ponder why a supervisor (an official of the company) fled the country.

"The players in this game have primarily been People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA); a labor union that is attempting to unionize the plant; a Conservative Jewish rabbi attempting to create a new kosher certification called Heksher Tzedek (Justice based kosher certification); and group of students from the liberal Orthodox rabbinical New York school Chochvei Torah who wish to form an Orthodox kosher certification call Uri L’Tzedek (Awaken to Justice)."

“Orthodox rabbinical New York school Chochvei Torah who wish to form an Orthodox kosher certification” That’s a new one. First I’ve heard Uri L’Tzedk wants to form a kosher certification. What is your source for this statement?

"Each group seems to have its own agenda, but when agendas converge, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” PETA wants to ban kosher slaughter; heck, it wants to ban animal slaughter altogether and have us all embrace vegetarianism."

I would agree, as would I believe the other people you so quickly include in your cabal, that PETA, which doesn’t believe in slaughter of animals, has an agenda which is at best highly suspect. Anything coming out of PETA must be questioned. That said, pictures speak for themselves and the pictures PETA has taken are quite disturbing if you believe Shechita is the most humane way to put meat on your table.

"The union wants the plant to organize."

Absolutely. After all the hoopla has died down, and Rubashkin is in jail and the plant sold, who will be there to guarantee that these workers will not be mistreated again? Many unions grew out of the horrors of the packing industry in the first 20 years of the 20th century, and those horrors continue today in Postville. BTW, many kosher plants are organized and they seem to be doing quite well thank you. You can be as capitalistic as you like, make as much money as you can, and still treat your workers with derech eretz.

"Rabbi Morris Allen, the Conservative Rabbi, sees a golden opportunity to get in on the business of kashrut and begin what he views as a universally accepted kosher certification that can rival those of the existing Orthodox ones."

You exhibit incredible ignorance about Hechsher Tzedek (Justice Seal). 1) A HT cannot appear on any product that has not already rec’d certification from a recognized certifying body. 2) Who says the Conservative Movement is going to charge? That issue hasn’t been discussed as yet. 3) The CM is not in the business of training its JTS graduates to become mashgichim or shochtim. For that matter, neither are most of the Yeshivas in the US. The vast majority of Shochtim and Mashgichim working in the field are from Israel and come to the US on R-1 visas. More about that some other time.

"Finally, the Yeshiva Chochvei Torah, is trying to use this as the wedge to open the door to acceptance and no longer be in the shadow of Yeshiva University."

Doubt it. YCT has its own following. YU hs its own following. Very different folks although YU has among its leaders people who are quite critical of Lubav. Heh, maybe they should be included in your conspiracy theory too?

"This is not a battle against one kosher meat producer. It’s an attack by converging agendas; socialist, liberal vegetarianism, and opportunist (The start a new financially driven kosher-standard), all the while interfering with a capitalistic system. Let it also be clear that the two people leading the efforts behind the different “T’Zedek” movements, Shmuly Yanklowitz of Chochvei and Rabbi Morris Allen are themselves vegetarians, and together with PETA, they’re in similar company; hardly the ones to objectively pursue a cause that will effectively raise the prices of meat and potentially reduce the current widespread availability of kosher meat within this country."

You forgot to say they are both left-handed, and communists, and part of an international conspiracy. Don’t know about Shmuly, but Rabbi Allen got involved in this issue YEARS ago. This is not something that popped into his head in 2006. He has been trying to get more Conservative Jews to keep kosher for 20 years or so. When I first met him his big issue was getting more meat available that was kosher, but not necessarily glatt – so that more Jews
could afford to keep kosher.

"Certainly Agriprocessors needs some fixing, but that is not the issue."

The OU, KAJ and others have been trying to put band-aids on this place for years and it hasn’t worked. Rubashkin has lost the confidence of the Jewish community. It has simply gone too far. You cannot say Al Chiat for some many years and not engage in real change. Enough is enough.

"PETA can wage its own war against a meat processor, and we can all be sure that it will. Agriprocessors is but one in the sea of many that it must contend with. The labor union can and will fight to unionize, PETA/Rabbi coalition or not. That leaves us with the pressing fight taking hold - arena of kosher supervision and holy wars between and among the different streams in Judaism."

While you would like to make this into a holy war among different streams in Judaism, it just ain’t so. Agriprocessors is an equal opportunity offender. Across the spectrum of Jewish life, there isn’t anyone who has not expressed their dismay at what has transpired in Postville.

"Rabbi Allen organized a group of Bnai Brith teens who then issued a press release calling for rallies and an “avoidance” (not a boycott) of Agriprocessors’ meat from their camps without doing the just thing and asking for more information."

Rabbi Allen had nothing to do with BBYO taking an Agri-Free stand. People inside BBYO made the decision on the basis of social justice. I know them, and I applauded them for doing so.

"In the news release, the teen leaders quoted newspaper stories as their source of valid information. That is like suggesting that The New York Times’ accounts of news on Israel is reality. Is this the right thing to do, rather than searching for the truth or the solution the problem? Is their “avoidance” for the purpose of getting Agriprocessors to shape up or is it to put them out of business?"

So a half dozen newspapers and news services are all part of the conspiracy. The went out to Postville intervewed witnesses, spoke to government officials and everyone lied.

"Uri L’Tzedek claims to have 1,500 signatures garnered from the Internet and email polling. Seeing that there are hundreds of thousands of kosher eating Jews in the United States, 1,500 is hardly a sampling."

It’s not just a question of how many who signed that is significant. It’s also who signed.

"So what is Tzedek and how is it to be meted out in terms of kosher laws? Will justice mean merely that a company must treat its workers nicely? Will it mean to keep employee and financial dealings in accordance with federal, state and local laws? It will be nearly impossible to accomplish."

True. It is a very difficult task,, which is why it is taking so long for CM to come out with standards.

"Almost every business or entrepreneur has some area where he is playing financial games with taxes, cash, charitable donations and employee issues. Will there be a limit as to how much of a law “bender” one can be to be considered a Tzedek Tdzadik (Righteous person)? Will Agriprocessors be expected to maintain perfection, but small grocery stores and restaurants in which the dishwashers, stockroom clerks, cooks and janitors may be illegal can get a “Tzedek” free pass? Will other slaughterhouses be called to task, or dairy producers and candy makers? Whose morality will they be expected to uphold? Mine? Yours? Rabbi Allen’s? Mr. Yanklowitz’?"

The moral standards the CM establishes will be the moral standards of the CM. They may not be acceptable to the Reform, Reconstructionist or various splinter groups within orthodoxy or half the people who regularly contribute to this blog.

"It would seem to be a highly subjective feat getting everyone together on one ideal; and a great challenge to see the rule book remain unchanged as business owners complain that it is too onerous, or as consumers ease their ideal requirements to fill their true needs, and as the need to fund the oversight increases."

You know I’ve heard the same said about schechita – who’s standard should be followed? Everyone’s interpretation is subjective and slightly different which is why we have over 300 symbols of kosher certification in this country.

"As it remains, we’re not at this point yet, because the excitement of knocking the Iowa plant to pave the way for this Tzedek undertaking is just too great. Ask yourself this question: When the dust settles, Agriprocessors and its compliance professionals bring the company up to speed, and everyone can get their meat again as they did before, how robust will the call and drive for Tzedek be then?"

Actually, quite robust. The Hechsher Tzedek was under discussion well before the May 12th raid. And, if you think a “compliance professional” will have any impact its because you’ve been smoking those funny little weeds again. The Chief Complience Officer is part of a pr campaign of mis-direction.

"The truth is that many meat processors have similar issues like those affecting Agriprocessors, yet Agriprocessors became the sacrificial lamb (pun fully intended) because of its size, growth and market dominance in both the kosher and non kosher industries. Frankly, it was an easy target that perhaps also painted the target on itself. For PETA, there is no kind way to kill an animal, and for the faint of heart, there are not many people in the United States who want those kinds of jobs."

Aahh , the classic, “everybody does it so it must be OK” defense. Sorry doesn’t pass the smell test.

"Agriprocessors hired people who needed jobs, and now they are looking to the homeless; offering them jobs, residences and a chance to get back up. That is Tzedek that you do not see too often, and it matters not that it may be rooted in necessity rather than philanthropy. Jobs are jobs, and a second chance is priceless."

I would agree if they were being honest about what the jobs entail and under what conditions the people would be living. So far it appears that Jacobson Staffing Agency and/or its surrogates have been lying to potential recruits. Read the latest news in Iowa newspapers and you won’t be so quick to make such a stupid statement.

"Before you join efforts to judge and execute, take a look at the issue, the source and the whole picture. A Heksher Tzedek is unrealistic."

According to you. Not according to the Conservative Movement. But let’s assume for a moment that the CM fails. As one person in Postville said to me, anything that leads to better working conditions for these poor workers, would be a mitzvah.

"The marketplace, we the consumers, are smart enough to know what we want, and our own desire to buy a product, patronize an establishment or find an alternative, can guide a company’s fate. The success of the Toyota Prius is a prime example. Few automakers had the gumption to move toward hybrids quickly, so it was the consumers who helped push the giants to move faster."

Interesting analogy. Didn’t know the Prius was kosher. BTW, the consumer is pretty smart and they are voting with their pocketbooks. I’am hearing it from congregations across the country – No Rubashkin products until there is major change at the ownership level.Point is no one trusts the Rubashkins and that doubt is spreading to those who certify them as well. There is an old Russian proverb: A fish stinks from the head down.

"We must not allow some organization or group to legislate Tzedek for us."

Not even Rabbi Shafran, Rabbi Geneck, etal? Are you saying this is now a free-for-all? Or are you saying people with free-will can determine with their own eyes and ears when conditions of OSHEK exist and what action should be taken.

"It will never conform to anything any individual could ever live up to or even believes he must. Legislating religion is bad politics, and bad policy."

I’m sure all of the Gedolim will agree with you 100%.

"Kosher certification needs to be transparent, but the principles of kosher do not need to be changed."

Finally you’ve said something I can agree with – as long as we all agree on what those principles of kashrut really entail.

Online link to WSJ article

Raid Unsettles Kosher Beliefs

Raid Unsettles Kosher Beliefs

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121485315802616845.html

Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel

What is 5w?

"Kosher certification needs to be transparent, but the principles of kosher do not need to be changed."

Finally you’ve said something I can agree with – as long as we all agree on what those principles of kashrut really entail.

Posted by: state of the Jews | July 01, 2008 at 08:02 PM

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, there are "Objective Standards" to permit one to judge whether shechita at any Kosher slaughterhouse is OK or not.

Please see URL below:

[http://www.shechitauk.org/downloads/2008guide.pdf]

"Kosher certification needs to be transparent, but the principles of kosher do not need to be changed."

Finally you’ve said something I can agree with – as long as we all agree on what those principles of kashrut really entail.

Posted by: state of the Jews | July 01, 2008 at 08:02 PM

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, there are "Objective Standards" to permit one to judge whether shechita at any Kosher slaughterhouse is OK or not.

Please see URL below:

[http://www.shechitauk.org/downloads/2008guide.pdf]

and the potential possibility exists of Mix-ups even between Rubashkin's Kosher vs Rubashkin's Non-Kosher meat which is sold to Goyim, because of the difficulty in TRACKING Rubashkin's Meat which is rendered Traif and is destined to be sold to Goyim - Mix-ups CAN potentially happen, very easily.

The problem is lack of transparency when it comes to labeling and shipping, as well as the hashgacha of the entire plant. Rubashkin insists on this type of setup where there is no system. This way they can get away with filling in orders the way they see fit. That's why they insist on not allowing outside agencies and mashgichim into their plants without an appointment.

"The CM is not in the business of training its JTS graduates to become mashgichim"

Actually, at least one Conservative "rabbi", who is from the 5 Towns, notes on his teuda that he was trained as a mashgiach at some kind of program at the Jewish Theological Cemetary.

Everyone should be aware that Rubashkin absolutely forbids unannounced inspections of his facilities.

Nathan Lewin, Agri's Attorney, was offered a deal by Bruce Friedrich of PETA, in a public debate in NYC in November, 2006, that PETA would remove all of it's Rubashkin stuff on it's web site, if Rubashkin agreed to unannounced inspections.

I know this to be true, as I was sent several recordings of this debate.

This kind offer has received no response, to date.

Kol Hakavod to Shmarya and all those whose contributions to FM have caused mainstream outlets to take notice. I kvelled when I first heard this. This blog makes a difference. I have always had enormous faith in the contributers, the cause, and of course the blogmeister. We will prevail!

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