This week's Kosher Today responds to two readers – one who also a frequent visitor here – who criticized the publication for not disclosing the financial relationship between its editor, Menachem Lubinsky, and Agriprocessors and the Rubashkin family:
"...and we remind two readers who contacted us about last week's Agri
story that both this publication and I do have a historical bias when
it comes to protecting the supply of kosher food, especially meat. I
have gladly represented them as a professional marketer in the past and
have the highest trust in our kashrus agencies and government agencies,
so nothing new there!"
Well, well... it IS something new to the vast majority of KT readers
that had zero idea that the author of the articles was on Agri's
Understand this well: Lubinsky has worked as a paid consultant for Rubashkin. His duties included dealing with parts of the PETA scandal and other Rubashkin troubles. Yet, writing in his industry trade publication in defense of Rubashkin, he does not disclose this relationship until outed.
This is what Orthodoxy is today. Dishonest, rotten to its very core.
Meanwhile, writing (belatedly) on the latest NY Times coverage of the Conservative Movement's Hechsher Tzedek, YLove sides with the Orthodox rabbis who have assailed the Hechsher Tzedek:
…From R' Chaim Ozer Grodzienski to the Chofetz Chaim to today's Orthodox leaders, the idea of "interdenominational cooperation" within the various Jewish "denominations" is largely eschewed at worst, and severely curtailed at best. With the possible exception of anti-missionary campaigns, there is virtually no issue regarding Jewish observance that will get the "denominations" -- which range in belief from "personal autonomy" and "decide your own laws" to "do not depart from your ancestors' ways in the slightest" -- to "agree upon." And indeed, this was a primary if not the main issue when when the Jewish Press ran the article in January:
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 Rabbinical Organization] views the suggestion as an attempt by those outside the observant community to infiltrate and dilute the existing framework of kashrus certifications.
I am right there with my esteemed rabbis on this point.
These things need to be addressed by the haredi communities themselves.…
I could not disagree more. The Orthodox world has proved itself incapable of handling this and many other issues. Only "outside" pressure – be it from Conservative rabbis or, better yet, the Federal government – will ever bring change.
But YLove isn't blind to the reality around him:
…Are we really unable to enforce -- either practically or economically -- the Shulchan Aruch's definition of "legal obligation"? There is no concept of "you shall not assist a EEOC law violator" in Jewish Law, but there IS a recurring theme of ein mesaye'in l'ovrei aveirah - you are not supposed to assist a sinner in the commission of his sin.
Would we buy free porn for masturbatory teenagers? Would we offer "free fill-up on premium for all getaway cars"? Obviously not. We do not give people additional sins or "beef up" people's already-being-committed sins.
While external, nebulous "standards" derived from "verses in Deuteronomy" do originate from "alien impositions" as the Jewish Press Op-Ed piece stated (apparently), my fear is that we could create an environment where, for the food service industry, the entire Choshen Mishpat, the entire body of Jewish civil and labor laws, is effectively relegated to irrelevance and impertinence.…
If we can get food lelo chashash tevel orlah u'shvi'is, we should be able to get food lelo chashash gezel, oshek v'ribbis. Ha'meivinim yavinu v'yaskilu.
Well said. But YLove misses (or skirts) a fundamental point – haredi society is a thugocracy. It is run by thugs (a.k.a., kanoim) and despotic, often elderly rabbis who behave like Sudanese warlords as often as not. Change ain't gonna come, Yitzchok, until transparency and democratic governance comes to haredi society. When's that gonna happen? It rhymes with ever, my friend.