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August 13, 2008

Rabbis Use Form-Letter Article To 'Clear' Agriprocessors – The Dishonesty Of Chabad's Rabbi David Eliezrie, Part 2

Clearly, Rabbi David Eliezrie has no shame.

Eliezrie has written an op-ed for the Jerusalem Post that is…

…so deceitful I am almost at loss for words to describe it.

(Interestingly, another rabbi who took part in the staged visit has written a nearly identical op-ed. I post that below Eliezrie's.)

What follow are the problems with Eliezrie's piece. These are not simple errors – these a lies of omission and commission.

My comments are in blue italics and contained within square brackets. Sometimes I have broken up paragraphs to add in my commentary. None of Rabbi Eliezrie's words have been altered, and none of them have been rearranged in any way:

It's kosher in Iowa
Aug. 13, 2008
DAVID ELIEZRIE


For some time there has been a controversy about Agriprocessors, the largest kosher meat plant in the United States. The media have raised questions of how workers are treated, workers' safety and conditions in the plant. The government detained a large number of illegal workers. All of these questions concerned me. So when a mission of national Jewish leaders was organized to inspect the plant, I decided to go.

[Eliezrie was an organizer of the rabbis' trip to Agriprocessors, not a simple participant.]

The mission included national leaders of the Orthodox community and the directors of kashrut agencies across the country.

[This is false.] There were several senior OU rabbis on the trip, and one other rabbi from a small California kashrut agency. This hardly represents "kashrut agencies {from} across the country."]

It represented the broad spectrum - rabbis from Agudat Yisrael, modern Orthodox, the OU, the Rabbinical Council of America, Chabad and Young Israel. Postville, Iowa is remote, the nearest airport is an hour and half away, and that's sparsely serviced Dubuque. I had two flights canceled and got home just before Shabbat after driving hours to Chicago.

We were given free reign of the plant. Randomly, we interviewed dozens of employees, selecting them ourselves. We viewed the production lines. We spent hours inside the plant. In no way was the trip choreographed.

[This cuts to the heart of the deception. The trip was paid for and planned with Agriprocessors, yet Eliezrie does not mention this. Oversight? Hardly.

Agriprocessors had weeks to prepare for the visit. Once it began, employees were interviewed by rabbis friendly with the Agriprocessors owners, with no provisions made to protect those workers from retaliation.

An announced visit choreographed by Agriprocessors that does not protect workers from punishment is not an inspection.]


THE REALITY we saw was far different from that described in the press. The plant is state of the art,and workers told of us of wages beginning at $10 an hour. Benefits such as full health and dental plans kick in at 90 days. One woman from Chicago spoke of working previously at the Tyson meat plant. There she received a dollar an hour more, but told us "in this plant the work is less rigorous and the training better."

[Eliezrie again lies. The press has reported that Agriprocessors raised its hourly rate to attract new workers after the raid, and has reported that new hourly rate just as Eliezrie does. What Eliezrie does not do is to discuss the hourly rate paid illegal workers until the day of the raid – far less than $10 per hour,]

I was most impressed from the actual kosher slaughter process. I discovered innovations that reflected the highest standards of halachic observance.

The mayor told us that if the plant fails, the local economy will be devastated. The Presbyterian minister said he has never had reports of abuse from his congregation.

[That would be because the illegal workers were overwhelmingly Catholic, and the few Presbyterians working at Agriprocessors are mostly in higher positions than the illegals were in.]

We questioned plant officials about safety, human resources and compliance. We heard how the plant had recently instituted the E Verification system that coordinates with the federal government to ensure that all employees are legal. Apparently this system checks the Social Security number against government records to insure all employees are who they say they are and that they are not under 18.

[This is something Agriprocessors refused to do in the years and weeks leading up to the raid. It is one reason why 24 child laborers were arrested on the day of the raid, and why Iowa's Department of Labor has now asked Iowa's Attorney General to prosecute 57 counts of illegal child labor it called "egregious" to the "fullest extent of the law."]

Some of our group, including myself, met with leaders of the local church, St. Bridget, that has historically been very critical of the plant.

["Some of our group" turns out to be 4 rabbis, three of whom are close to the Rubashkin family, owners of Agriprocessors. Two – including Eliezrie – are Chabad rabbis who have benefited from Rubashkin donations. Eliezrie himself was identified in national press before the trip as a rabbi helping the Rubashkin family with the media

Eliezrie tries to paint these clergy as aniti-Agriprocesors, and does so in a way that could easily be understood to read "antisemitic." St. Bridget's leaders are not antisemitic, but one could forgive them for being so, I think, after months of feeding, clothing, housing and providing medical care for hundreds of former and current Agriprocessors workers – almost all of whom tell the same story of forced unpaid overtimes, extortion, and abuse.]

The rabbis suggested that they begin ongoing meetings with the plant management to investigate alleged abuses. We asked them to provide us with documentation of specific cases of worker abuse which we would bring to the attention of the plant management. We still have not heard from them, and they have nor have they responded to our request for regular meetings with the plant. Instead they continue to use the press as their mode of communication.

[What Eliezrie fails to say – besides the deceitful way he and rabbi Pesach Lerner, the trip's co-leaders, treated St. Bridget's – is that St. Bridget's has long tried to communicate with Agriprocessors', largely to no avail. The onus for communication is on Agriprocessors, not on the people who work 12 to 15 hour days to clean up Agriprocessors' mess. Past that, Eliezrie is misrepresenting what happened that meeting.]

NONE OF the press reports have been by reporters who have been inside the plant. One JTA reporter who did visit the plant a few days before us filed a report that reaffirmed what we said.

[That JTA reporter is Sue Fishkoff, who is both close to Chabad mega-funder George Rohr and author of an unbalanced book on Chabad that Chabad uses for fundraising and PR. Even so, her report is not as favorable as Eliezrie claims.]

Almost all have based their stories on reports from outside sources - the church and the union which is trying to take over the plant and is being sued by Smith [sic] Food for racketeering. In Arizona, a grocery chain that has resisted the union is in court accusing it of defamation, extortion and trespass.

[Note Rabbi Eliezrie fails to mention National Labor Relations Board decisions against Agriprocessors and the Rubashkin family. The Rubashkins have tried to illegally block unionization, have collected union dues but kept the money for themselves, and committed other violations of US Labor Law.]

Some leftist Jewish organizations interested in immigration issues have joined the bandwagon. A group of non-Orthodox rabbis wants to create a new rabbinical kashrut certification, based on liberal social values instead of Halacha.

[Clearly referring to Hechsher Tzedek, Eliezrie has just written chunks of biblically-based Torah law out of existence. Past that, Hechsher Tzedek is not a kashrut organization as such – it has repeatedly stated that it will leave the details of kosher production to existing Orthodox supervisions. All it will do is certify companies comply with other, non-food-production-based halakha.]


Claiming to be motivated by ethics, its approach to the issue has been far from ethical - smear campaigns and demonstrations instead of the Jewish way of exploring the issues objectively and seeking solutions. It has created a battle of Jew vs. Jew, creating a show the media relishes.

[This coming from a man who compared PETA to the Nazis.]

While I cannot know anything about the past , I did witness myself the reality today, and it's not what we have read in the media. It could have been that Agriprocessors grew very swiftly and management was not as strong as it could have been. Today the plant is without question state of the art, workers are treated well and there is strong attention to safety and compliance.

[If Rabbi Eliezrie does not "know anything about the past," he cannot clear Agriprocessors. Further, because he cannot know the future – and because there is no independent qualified third party supervision in place – he cannot verify it, either.

All Rabbi Eliezrie and his fellow travelers did is pay a brief, staged visit to a slaughterhouse owned by people with a long history of criminal, illegal and unethical conduct – a photo op with a free deli lunch thrown in.

To assert otherwise is to lie – and that is exactly what Rabbi David Eliezrie is doing.]

 The writer is president of the Rabbinical Council of Orange County, California.

[Note that Eliezrie does not identify himself as Chabad, even though he is a official Chabad rabbi, and he does not identify the owners of Agriprocessors – his friends, the Rubashkins – as Chabad, even though they are. The Rubashkins also give large amounts of money to Chabad organizations, including some Eliezrie is associated with, and Eliezrie himself has been serving as a media advisor to the Rubashkin family in the weeks leading up to the rabbis' staged visit.]

Should a man who lies like this be an Orthodox rabbi?

I don't think so. Do you?

But there's more to this story. Rabbi Zvi Zuravin head of the St. Louis Vaad Hoir (citywide Orthodox umbrella organization), has published an op-ed nearly word-for-word identical to Eliezrie's in the St. Louis Jewish Light, meaning the rabbis are working off the same master article, probably written by Eliezrie:

A view from Postville: local rabbi visits Agriprocessors
POSTVILLE KOSHER PLANT

BY RABBI ZVI ZURAVIN

For weeks now the controversy about Agriprocessors, the kosher meat and poultry plant in Postville, Iowa, has been in the media. Questions abound regarding the treatment of workers, the presence of foreign workers with falsified documents, etc. All of these issues deeply concerned me.

So when a mission of national Jewish leaders to Postville was proposed, I was very eager to participate. I did so in order to get an upfront, first-hand grasp of the situation for my own edification, as well as to report my observations to my friends in the St. Louis Jewish community.

The mission represented a broad spectrum of the North American kosher observant community and included over 20 leading U.S. and Canadian rabbinic and lay personalities as well as numerous directors of kashruth agencies across the country. There were rabbis from the National Council of Young Israel, Agudath Israel of America, the Orthodox Union, Chabad and the Rabbinical Council of America.

The rabbis and lay leaders traveling from all over the country met in the early morning in Postville. We entered the plant led by Chaim Abrams, the operations manager. Once inside there were no restrictions put on us whatsoever. We were given free and unfettered access to the entire plant. We interviewed dozens of employees, selecting them ourselves. We spent a number of hours inside the plant, and we reviewed the elaborate production lines. Our entire tour of the plant was conducted in a spontaneous manner, and in no way was it scripted or orchestrated.

The reality that we found at the plant was far different than what had been depicted in the media. Agriprocessors is a modern, efficient and impeccably clean facility. Great emphasis is placed on safety, sanitation, quality control and assurance. Contrary to some reports, the workers are in good spirits and seemed remarkably content with their work environment as well as their pay.

The workers told us of wages beginning at $10 an hour, with pay raises and benefits, such as full health and dental insurance that kicked in after 90 days. They also told us of the availability of overtime after 40 hours per week. Virtually all of those we spoke to, some of whom had been at the plant for as many as eight or 10 years, expressed satisfaction at working at Agriprocessors. One worker from Chicago spoke of working previously at Tyson.

"In this plant the work is less rigorous and the training is better," she told us.

I was thoroughly impressed by the actual method of shechita — kosher slaughter — at the plant. I discovered innovations in the shechita process that reflected the highest standards in Halachic observance, including the proper treatment of the animals, in addition to the efficiency of the operation and the meticulous attention to safety.

We met with the mayor of Postville and a local minister, both of whom spoke passionately in praise of the enormous economic and civic contributions which the plant and its owners, the Rubashkin family, have made to the people of this rural community.

We spoke with plant officials in charge of safety, human resources and compliance. We learned that recently the plant voluntarily instituted the E Verification system that coordinates with the Federal government to insure that employees are legal. Apparently, this system checks a given Social Security number against government records to insure all employees are who they say they are.

So where is all this tumult about Postville coming from? As I understand it, the grossly exaggerated and largely unsubstantiated stories about the plant have been emanating mainly from two sources. The UCFW union, which for some time has been unsuccessful in its attempts to unionize the plant, is one. This union has been sued for alleged unlawful organizing efforts. Just recently a lawsuit brought by a grocer in Arizona, accusing this union of defamation and extortion, was allowed to go forward. Agriprocessors has claimed it has suffered similar experiences with this union.

Secondly, and most unfortunately, there are some Jewish groups with an unconvincing history of support for kosher observance who have also played a role in this fiasco. These groups, it appears, have their own denominational and social agendas to advance, most notably the creation of a new food product certification based on their own liberal social values. Sadly, while they claim to be motivated by ethics, their behavior may suggest otherwise. Some, it appears, have unfortunately chosen the path of smear campaigns and boycotts, of innuendo and distortions.

I believe we can all agree that the Jewish way is to seek out the unbiased and objective truth before rushing to condemn; that it behooves us to find solutions to real problems, rather than to artificially magnify them or manufacture new ones. Jewish leaders must seek peace and shalom bayit, and not recklessly cause injury to other people's reputations and livelihoods, just to advance one's self-serving political objectives.

I do not claim to know everything that has occurred at Agriprocessors in the past, and it is very possible that there indeed were some real problems. However, I and every member of our group would tell you with absolute conviction of the reality that we personally witnessed at Postville.

The plant which the Rubashkins have built there is run very professionally. The workers are being treated well, and the quality and Kashruth of the products are of the highest order. The negative images that are being fed to an unknowing public by the media and by others about conditions at Agriprocessors, are completely at odds with the facts on the ground, and in my humble opinion these cannot possibly be the product of noble motivations.

At the very least, we owe it to ourselves and to everyone involved to withhold judgment until all the facts become clearly and objectively proven.

In the meantime, let's all make sure that the words that come out of our mouths, as well as the food that goes into them, are both unquestionably and unconditionally Kosher.

Rabbi Zvi Zuravin is Executive Director of the Vaad Hoeir of St. Louis.

Should a rabbi this dishonest be a rabbi? The head of a city's rabbis?

Of course not.

Part 1.


Eliezrie-It's kosher in Iowa.pdf

Zuravin (Eliezrie).pdf

Comments

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Remember Theresienstadt?
The Red Cross visit that place, of course it was no surprise visit. Nobody dared tell the Red Cross the truth either.

If it isn't a surprise visit then it is just another Red Cross Theresienstadt visit.

How about Rabbi Z, he came with an interpreter, everything fine says the [slave] workers.

agriprocessors will prevail. what will you do? what will you do? who can you blame for all the problems in the world? who - just whom? i know, i know - just look in the mirror.

Question.

Eliezrie says

++rabbinical kashrut certification, based on liberal social values instead of Halacha.++

You say

++All it will do is certify companies comply with other, non-food-production-based halakha.++

Reading the guidelines released by HT, it seems they are based on non-halachic sources. How does your reading of their guidelines back up your long comment there?

The guidelines are based on American norms, just as halakha requires.

Meet or exceed, in other words.

I believe the Halachos Rabbi Eliezrie was referring to are the same Halachos I was expecting from HT - the ones governing these matters. The laws of employee wages etc. Instead the guidelines are based on modern values which is what Rabbi Eliezrie said.

I believe the Halachos Rabbi Eliezrie was referring to are the same Halachos I was expecting from HT - the ones governing these matters. The laws of employee wages etc. Instead the guidelines are based on modern values which is what Rabbi Eliezrie said.

Getzel, lots of halakha is based on the standard for a city or a country.

True, and I am not an expert in that particular Halachic field, but if the Torah's standards exceed the local standards I assume it would be forbidden to use local standards.

On the flip-side, for the listed HT standards that are not required by local standards but merely considered nice or commendable, the Halachic standing for those would be pretty weak, I imagine.

but if the Torah's standards exceed the local standards I assume it would be forbidden to use local standards.

True.

On the flip-side, for the listed HT standards that are not required by local standards but merely considered nice or commendable, the Halachic standing for those would be pretty weak, I imagine.

Not at all.

the dishonesty! the travesty! the miscariage! the whining! the complaining! - give it up! it is a battle you will never win. whine whine whine... the best cure for a good whine is a big fat juicy agri steak!!! and all your problems will go away!!! and you will be cured!!!

++Reading the guidelines released by HT, it seems they are based on non-halachic sources.++

I have NO Idea what you're reading - but teh document I have has a list of hallachic citations longer than the document itself.

You still reading the draft?

948 said

"... it is a battle you will never win..."

Your continued presence on this blog is proof the regular contributors here have already won.

No shame? His letter is his testimony based upon his personal inspection, not contradicted by anyone else in a group of witnesses. This is good testimony, it is part of what consumers want to hear.

yes, there could be more testimony, more eyewitnesses. All of that would be good. But to contradict this kind of statement, or battle it, it would have to be a similar group of varying individuals and not a group of activists with preconceived notions.

Agri is not vindicated (especially since they have been pressured by the system in place and also pressured by the government) but looks as if this scandal is more accusation than serious fact.

nothing new, shmarya, you're wasting too much time on this agriproccesor junk

No shame? His letter is his testimony based upon his personal inspection, not contradicted by anyone else in a group of witnesses.

That is false. Rabbi Lerner's testimony contradicts Eliezrie's, as does the people from St. Bridget's.

And then other's on the trip have spoken to their congregations, and their testimony as I have heard it matches St. Bridgets – not Eliezrie.

There are five halachot of shechita. (see chulin chapter two)
People interested in meat should learn them and forget about rabbis. A fellow I know went to many cities in Ukraine where shechita is done under Lubavitch supervision. He testified before me in front of witnesses that in one city the shochet was drunk on the job, in another the shochet knew three of the five halachot and even those three he got mixed up. in another city the knife was pagum. In another the knife maybe was pagum--he himself is new at shechita so he could not really tell but his rav that he was with said it was pagum. It was one of those hard to tell cases.
I forget there were more cases but this was a year ago.
I mean if you want something done right do it yourself. Anyway I only started eating chicken in the last two weeks in the local kitchen on shabat--and at least I know the shochet

To Shmarya, pieces like these are your reson d'etre. This was well investigated and very informative. It is this type of investigative journalism that safegaurds society as a whole. Keep up the good work.

There are five halachot of shechita. (see chulin chapter two)
People interested in meat should learn them and forget about rabbis. A fellow I know went to many cities in Ukraine where shechita is done under Lubavitch supervision. He testified before me in front of witnesses that in one city the shochet was drunk on the job, in another the shochet knew three of the five halachot and even those three he got mixed up. in another city the knife was pagum. In another the knife maybe was pagum--he himself is new at shechita so he could not really tell but his rav that he was with said it was pagum. It was one of those hard to tell cases.
I forget there were more cases but this was a year ago.
I mean if you want something done right do it yourself. Anyway I only started eating chicken in the last two weeks in the local kitchen on shabat--and at least I know the shochet

me, your post and the very complaints about OU (on small and large scale then for "technical" requirements of shechita/kosher slaughter there are issues of competence, of judgement, of who inspects? who inspects the inspectors?) suggest that advocates of ethical kashrus, now that they have a target, a "negative poster child", are underestimating the difficulties of expanding the norms of certification on a day by day proactive basis, as if the task is easier, not more difficult, simpler, rather than more complicated, requires less not more manpower to certify firms as ethical, by whatever criteria you choose.

Now every one of these wined and dined rabbis will be printing articles, praising Rubashkin to the heavens. What a sick joke. Lubinsky had this perfectly orchestrated. Even he wrote an article or two detailing his "findings". Doesn't get sicker than this folks.

Yes, Steve, it's an incredible sickness.

But those responsible will one day come to the realization that their fight is not with us, but against the will of G-d.

I don't believe that anyone in history has gone against G-d and prevailed.

We will prevail, as G-d's truth always wins out in the end.

They can sponsor one hundred of these junkets and have these rabbis write thousands of articles, it won't help them. They're going down and they know it.

Agri is getting back on thier feet and defeating the odds. They are rebuilding - and you can not stand it. Twist and turn - and still you foam at the mouth. Ouch - it hurts - but AGRI is here to stay and all your moaning and groaning will be in vain.

Once they are shut down, maybe Genack will appoint Sholom Rubashkin as Co-Chairman of the OU Kashrus Commission. He'll be perfect working alongside Steven Katz. He can also have Moishe Finkel head up the Israeli office.

Shmarya: "Not at all." - Care to explain.

Rebitzman: "You still reading the draft?"

Yep. When they announced the release of the guidelines, that's what I found, and I was unaware that they released anything else. I can't find it on their website either. If you would email them to me I would appreciate it.

Our local head of the Kosher Nostra, Rabbi Zuvarin in St. Louis also doesn't know how to make his own decisions and write his own letter and merely parroted the form letter in this week's St. Louis Jewish Light. He gets a free trip to Pottsville and can't make his own determination?

http://www.stljewishlight.com/commentaries/298032298256781.php

The haredi are free to do as they please but why to the rest of us authentic Jews allow them to set the standards for Judiasm in our communitites by deciding what can and can't be served in our facilities.

Shmarya, you are mistaken about the kashruth agency angle. Several of those rabbis are involved in their local vaadim. This fact just highlights the level of deceit however as Lubinsky-Chabad-Lerner are trying to dupe as many groups as possible.

FM

I believe that you have sold out to Rubashkin, Your blog is a straw man that allows Getzel Rubashkin to answer his family's critics.

Why should Shmarya not allow an open forum? And besides, it's easy to deconstruct Getzel's silly arguments.

Maybe Getzel can tell us what kind of deli the visiting rabbis fressed on, whether Aaron's Best, Supreme or Shor Habor.

Ultimately, it's all the same meat with the label switching that goes on. I'm just curious what they thought they were getting on the junket.

Getzel wrote on a previous thread:

"Well, the one that relies on an anonymous commenter on FM, for starters. The 9000 chicken story also comes to mind. I'm sure other commenters who have challenges [sic] your statements can add to this list"

Getzel, for the third time, I only asked if Lew is related based on that post by "Jimmy". I didn't realize I was working at the Agri plant where it is verboten to ask questions that Master Rubashkin does not like.

As far as the 9000 chickens, those were the words of Belsky at the OU. For the 2nd time, I verified with a rosh yeshiva that Belsky made those remarks in public. If the Morristown rosh yeshiva told you something, would you be skeptical? This is besides the fact that it was reported all over by numerous other eyewitnesses and 2nd hand sources. I don't really care that only 7500 chickens fit on one trailer. Maybe Belsky was off on the exact count or maybe it was two Rubashkin trucks that collided with each other. If this is the kind of "proof" you bring to refute me, you will be laughed right off your keyboard.

Otherwise, can you do any better than "cite" a purported army of ghost posts? Where's the beef, Getzel?

Correction

That should have been Agri plant(ation)

One more point about Lew & Stillman that I wish to reiterate.

Why did Agri raise bail money for the criminals in their employ but do nothing for the shooting victim who is paralyzed for life. Despite the massive chilul Hashem, it is better late than never for Agri to offer that poor woman some kind of amends.

"The 9000 chicken story also comes to mind"

Upgelernt fun Nat Lewin who is paid by Rubashkin to publicly smear the rabbi of his own synagogue. Maybe Lewin can provide Getzel with US Transportation Dept records from the Rubashkin truck accident that show the count is off by a few chickens. I and everyone else aware of the ofos nefulos story must be just as shmucky as Rabbi Herzfeld who has a slightly different variation of a Rabbi Salanter story than appears in the "official" biography.

Archie: The fact that someone said something, particularly when the numbers don't add up, does not constitute substantiation. Read this.

You spread that story without substantiating it. Unsubstantiated does not mean it's false, it simply means you have not established the facts, and evidently are not bothered by that.

About the Lew relation, if memory serves, your original comment was not in the nature of an innocent question, "I only asked."

Oh, and speaking of unsubstantiated accusations, "it's all the same meat with the label switching that goes on."

As far as the bail issue, I am not going to address something about which I do not have the facts. I wonder on what you are basing yours.

Also, the fact that this was during the three weeks would mean they did not eat meat, something such a learned fellow as yourself would surely know. Sinah Mikalkeles es HaShurah.

Oh, and speaking of unsubstantiated accusations, "it's all the same
meat with the label switching that goes on."

Getzel. this is an old story – and a true one.

When I was in the meat business, and we got KAJ instead of Chabad, and we called to complain and arrange an exchange, your uncle told my partner – "It's all the same."

As for bail, Stephen Bloom documents the Stillman-Lew attempted murder episode in great detail.

As of 2000, the woman victim had never received a penny in compensation from Lew. He did not fulfill the civil court judgement against him. He had not apologized.

And Agriprocessors had not contacted the victim – who lives with a bullet pressing on her spine – and had not offered her anything – not even a free box of burgers.

Really now? Maybe there is an extra chumra in Shulchan Aruch Harav for the drei vochen that I was not aware of.

Meat is only prohibited during the nine days.

The media reported the rabbis fressed on deli.

You had made a siyum on maseches Sotah around that time (although I suggest you relearn daf memches).

You should utter a different maamar, but directed at Pesach Lerner's group: ki hashochad yeaveir einei pikchim visaleif divrei tzadikim.

I stand corrected.

It is the same Cheftza, in terms of Chumros. It wasn't always that way, but the various groups adopted each others Chumros at some point. The Gavra is different, in other words the Rabbinical staff and certifier who shoulders responsibility. You are either twisting your story to suit your needs, or you misunderstood. Any of the certifying agencies would tell you the same thing.

Getzel, yesterday you challenged me to support my interpretation that the language of the 1958 Act does not as a matter of fact establish that Shechita is not humane.
The language states-
"Either of the following two methods of slaughtering and handling are hereby found to be humane"
Constitutionally, the legislature cannot determine question of fact. That is the role of the judiciary following due judicial process. The legislature can DEEM a fact to be true eg for the purposes of highway law, a bicycle is not a vehicle. The legislature cannot make findings of fact but can make suppositions of fact. Those suppositions may be factually true or they may be legal fictions. Legal fictions are suppositions of fact taken to be true by the courts of law, but which are not necessarily true. The term "legal fiction" is not usually used in a pejorative way in spite of the negative connotation of the phrase.
As a matter of law, only the judiciary can decide if as a matter of fact ritual slaughter is actually humane as opposed to being deemed humane by legal fiction. That question will in practice never be decided because US Supreme Court have held that the first amendment trumps animal welfare legislation. The European Courts have taken a similar view.
All one can say is that as a matter of law, no court of law has decided whether shechita is humane and as far as the declaration by any legislature that shechita is humane, that declaration is unsatisfactory as it may or may not be a legal fiction. The issue therefore remains open.
If a court of law definitively found that shechita was humane, I would have no problem in such meat being sold to gentiles. However and to my regret the shechita industry denies the existence of this legal ambiguity by falsely claiming it does not exist.
There is little scientific research on the humanity of ritual slaughter since such research would be pointless since it cannot be acted for first amendment reasons. Some research was carried out for the UK government in 2003 and it was rather unfavorable to the view that shechita is humane. In fact the scientist who chaired the research stated '"Throat cutting is a major incision into the animal and to say that it doesn't suffer is quite ridiculous". The UK government however recognizing religious rights will not act on those findings.

Your suggestion that I relearn mem-ches is interesting, as you have not suggested any plausible alternative to my understanding of the simple facts.

Sorry, I posted twice.

BREAKING NEWS: Photo Scandal Involving Yeshiva Hoops Coach Widens; More Victims Sought
http://thejewishweek.com/viewArticle/c37_a13200/News/National.html


see also: http://www.theawarenesscenter.org/Melzer_Adam.html


Case of Adam Melzer, alleged and arrested sexual offender currently on bail, lawyer, Jewish Music Personality, coach Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey, youth supervisor, Camp Morasha, JM in the AM producer, Yeshiva University, WYUR, HAFTR High School, St. John's School of Law, Melzer & Sullivan-Bisceglia, LLC, High School Basketball coach HAFTR, Mesivta of North Jersey boys junior varisity basketball coach, Neginah Orchestra agent and sales head, producer of a concert in Queens College featuring Live by Request with Avraham Fried, Chaim Dovid and Menucha, musical director at YU Chanukah concert with Avraham Fried, Yaakov Shwekey, Diaspora and Emes, production coordinator at HASC A Time For Music concert, producer who worked on Avraham Fried Live by Request concert in Hackensack, NJ to benefit Yeshivat Noamin which also featured Blue Fringe.

Barry is in good company considering that only anarchist and anti-Semitic crackpots have brought legal challenges against shechita.

Only the Judiciary can decide? I bet Barry is one of the people who was hopping mad and screaming bloody murder when the Supreme Court "stole" the election from Al Gore.

What a hoot!

Barry, Constitutional absolutism challenging the act confuses a value judgement (statement of moral fact) with a legislative directive. There is no reason whatsoever under the Constitution for either legislatures or courts to protect the constitutional rights of animals who are being turned into foodstuffs. The legislature has great leeway (if we accept this regulation under the Commerce clauses at all) to do a little or nothing at all since the animals are not a protected class under the constitution. If the cattle had anything to say about it they would vigorously protest your constitutional interpretation permitting their slaughter.


Getzel, the halachic guidelines/principles are available in a separate pamphlet as far as I can tell---

go to http://rabbimorrisallen2.blogspot.com/ and click on Al Pi Din

http://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/fcasfamily/FCASFamilyAppearance?courtId=0&attorneyId=3155386&sortOrder=1&Name=MOSTOFSKY, STEVEN ZACHARY

UOJ dug up a case with countless court appearances by Steve Mostofsky, the shady lawyer for Isaac Hersh's father that is Pesach Lerner's boss at Young Israel.

http://hamptonroads.com/2008/08/documents-ponzi-scheme-exploited-community-ties

This article proves Shmarya was reckless & unjustified in saying that orthodox Jews were backing Shereshevsky. He moved to Norfolk using an alias and gained the trust of the locals there by marrying on the women in their community who didn't know what he was all about.

marrying A women

make that woman, in the singular

on the face of it they are using Talmudic dicta on labor conditions to establish a board that arbitrates whether these dicta are met, amplified by the requirement to meet prevailing local [non-Jewish] conditions of labor, employment, benefits and conditions. If the proposed authorizing board agrees this is met they offer their hekhsher tzedik--I didn't myself see an explanation or legal reasoning that attached this concept to technical kashrus, either as an integral component of it or as a permitted extension--this seems to be some kind of "plus" certification or heksher that borrows the concept of kosher certification by analogy or by assumption.

and animal welfare

with argumentation that is more directly substantive, pg. 15-17, but the focus is innately broad-gauged here and highly leveraged--it has a cosmic sweep to it:

"We have a right, and we are right, to expect our coreligionists, our kosher food purveyors, to sanctify God’s name by their business practices and to allow, even to aid us in, the pursuit of righteousness.

The teaching of Judaism is the theology of the common deed. The Bible insists that God is concerned with everydayness, with the trivialities of life... in how we manage the commonplace. The prophet’s field of concern is not the mysteries of heaven... but the blights of society, the affairs of the marketplace. He addresses himself to those who trample upon the needy, who increase the price of grain, use dishonest scales and sell the
refuse of corn (Amos 8:4-6). The predominant feature of the biblical pattern of life is unassuming, unheroic, inconspicuous piety... “The wages of the hired servant shall not
abide with thee...” (Lev. 19:13)... When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof” (Deut. 22:8)... The challenge we face is a test of our integrity.
[Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Insecurity of Freedom, 102-104, emph. in orig.] "

Thanks Archie B for agreeing that Barry's complaint is unjustified.

Regarding Shmarya's response to my conclusion, based upon the report that the group was impressed by the visit, he cites Rabbi Lerner as contradicting the report. I regret I have lost Rabbi Lerner's thoughts in all of this but the point remains that it surely seems that everyone who visits the plant walks away convinced all is in order--even if recent changes have helped to produce a positive report.

Lost in all of this is the common sense that says that the community has an interest in this beyond politics. If the battle reverts merely to politics, this is excellent proof that Shamrya's campaign has failed and the best and almost only justification (beyond a couple of legitimate problems from the beginning of the saga) to protest this kosher meat plant is a basic political stance and not a concern based in Jewish law or morality or even a general sense of how one treats an employee.

Further, it is clear over-reach when almost everything is seen as a conspiracy and this is getting old. Good people want an outcome which is fair to everyone

I suggest, David, that you spend some time rereading – and actually trying to process – the posts I've done on that staged visit.

Archie,
Only 'anarchist(s) and anti-semetic crackpots' have brought legal challenges to Shechita?!? Where are you from?

In the United States NO ONE has challenged Shechita in the Courts. There was a case in 1974, Jones versus Butz (no...not Butts) that challenged handling (shackle and hoist) but the plaintives did not prevail.

There may be cause today to challenge the religious exemption for handling (shackle and hoist) since restraint pens for both large and small animals exist today.

The Humane Slaughter Act was enacted because it is a HUMAN VALUE to treat food animals in a humane fashion.

As long as meat from animals derived from religious slaughter (Kosher and Halal) gets sold to non-observant consumers, the religious exemption on handling should be restricted to prohibit shackling and hoisting of animals.

Secular slaughter has a higher standard than religious slaughter in terms of shackle and hoist.

++Secular slaughter has a higher standard than religious slaughter in terms of shackle and hoist.++

Suggest you visit a commercial non-kosher slaughterhouse then get back to us.

I have no love at all for PETA - but even they disagree with you.

Carol Ann,

I'm thinking of a Ukranian anti-Semite based in Canada who has been filing complaints with various government agencies and courts in countries where shechita is allowed. He has also been lobbying food conglomerates to drop kosher supervision which, like neo-Nazis, he calls the "Jewish tax"

"Secular slaughter has a higher standard than religious slaughter in terms of shackle and hoist."

For those like Rubashkin who shackle & hoist and otherwise mistreat animals.

To Shmarya, pieces like these are your reson d'etre. This was well investigated and very informative. It is this type of investigative journalism that safegaurds society as a whole. Keep up the good work.

Thanks, BK!

Carol Ann, your argument is still unclear. As I read the Act, the Humane Slaughter Act permits kosher slaughter methods without regard to the method of restraint. The law permits slaughter using the methods of restraint at the time of the legislation--it isn't an exemption as far as I can see but a core component of the law itself. In order to further restrict or modify kosher practices for slaughter you would require new legislation--any proposed legislation that required restraint that can only be used for pre-stunned/pre-paralyzed stunned animals would be challanged.

The polarization goes on and on. Groups with their own agendas and vested interests interpret the "facts" to prove their points and discount all the other side has to say, frequently through name calling and accusatioins. This investigation of Agriprocessors from the left and from the right is completely without credibility.

The only organization i would put any faith in at this time is Uri l tzedek since they seem to have managed to draw heat from all sides which to me is an indication that their view may be closest to the "truth".

Disclaimer: I would also tend to compare PETA and their extortionist terrorist allies to NAZIS since it is dangerous to even attempt to engage them in dialogue. All you PETA supporters, check out their latest Ad:

http://blog.peta.org/archives/ad/

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