In November, Michael Alper, a senior aide to the Chief Rabbi of Poland, wrote a letter to the Polish veterinarians who oversee animal slaughter asking for permission to slaughter 250 cows Alper promised would first be stunned with electricity in accordance with Polish law. But Alper's letter was a lie and no animals were stunned before slaughter. And now that news has caused a national scandal.
Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich
Shechita Crisis: Poland’s Chief Rabbinate Lies To Government About Kosher Slaughter Causing National Scandal
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
They lied and they got caught.
In November, Michael Alper, a senior aide to the Chief Rabbi of Poland, wrote a letter to the Polish veterinarians who oversee animal slaughter asking for permission to slaughter 250 cows Alper promised would first be stunned with electricity in accordance with Polish law.
“I am writing to request to carry out the slaughter of 250 heads of cattle on Nov. 23, 2013, with use of electric current to render the animals unconscious,” Alper wrote in the letter, which was obtained by JTA.
The letter listed Alper’s official title as “Rabbinate coordinator for Kosher production in Poland” and his job was to act as the chief rabbi’s representative to slaughterhouses and the Polish agriculture ministry.
But the letter was a lie. The animals were kosher slaughtered without prior stunning – a violation of Polish law and a current flashpoint in relations between the Polish government and the Polish Jewish community.
According to all normative halakhic opinions currently followed, animals cannot be stunned before kosher slaughter slaughter. If they are, their meat is deemed to be non-kosher, and this is the opinion of Poland’s Poland’s chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, as well.
“Stunning cannot be used in shechita (kosher slaughter), and saying it was used is a very serious mistake. What he [Alper] has written is completely unacceptable and he has been suspended from his position pending an investigation,” Schudrich told the JTA.
But although the JTA does not report this, it is very unlikely Shudrich, who has smicha (ordination) from Rabbi Dr. Moshe Tendler of Yeshiva University's rabbinical school, was unaware of Alper’s deception while it was taking place.
Alper’s November letter was leaked to media along with claims that kosher slaughter illegally continued in Poland despite a court ruling that went into effect in January 2013 that prohibited un-stunned slaughter.
The JTA now has pictures of meat labeled as kosher and produced in Poland after the law requiring stunning went into effect. One of those meat packages “appeared to carry certification from Rabbi Yehuda Osher Steiner of the Manchester Beth Din in Britain,” the JTA reported.
Poland’s Channel 1 ran commercials for a program, scheduled to be aired February 4, that would have reported that kosher slaughter was being illegally conducted in Poland.
While the show has been postponed, a source involved in the show’s production told the JTA on condition of anonymity that the report documents three slaughterhouses where animals were kosher slaughtered without stunning. But in each of those three cases Alper reported the slaughter to the government as stunned before slaughter in conformity with Polish law, which was a lie.
Schudrich suspended Alper pending an investigation – but apparently only after he found out Alper’s letter was about to become public.
Alper reportedly declined to answer questions from the JTA.
Schudrich refused to confirm or deny that commercial kosher slaughter had taken place in Poland after January 2013.
But Schudrich did reportedly say that “the court’s ruling in 2012 is not a ban. It is a case of conflicting rulings that is being reviewed by the Constitutional Court.”
But that, too, is a lie.
Until the Constitutional Court renders its decision, the law of land is that all animals must be stunned before slaughter.
The haredi Manchester Beth Din also did not answer the JTA’s questions regarding its role in certifying the illegally slaughtered kosher meat.