Social Action Alert! Kosher Meat and Social Justice
The recent Agriprocessors Kosher Meat scandal and the responses from within the Conservative Movement and the Modern Orthodox world are important to spread and act upon. I'm including an email from the (Orthodox) Uri L'Tzedek effort below, and here are the links to the (Conservative) Hechsher Tzedek efforts:
I encourage us all to read through the informative e-mail from Uri L'tzedek below, check out the links to Hechsher Tzedek, read some articles about the situation at Agriprocessors and the response, and consider taking action by signing the on-line petition, telling others, helping to identify other sources of truly kosher meat. Kosher certification must embody noble interpersonal practice. Anything less is simply not enough. Anything less is not Kosher.
Living a life full of Middot/Values reminds us that while Shavuot is traditionally a milchig/dairy holiday, it also provides us space to reflect on days which aren't. May what we place in our mouths be as mindful as that which emerges from our mouths.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach,
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
From: Uri LTzedek [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, May 30, 2008 7:31 AM
Subject: Creating a kosher meat industry we can be proud of - next steps! Please FWD
In the past few days, we've received signatures from about 600 Jewish leaders, rabbis, educators and heads of Jewish schools, Hillel Directors, and concerned consumers from Washington DC to Brazil, Los Angeles to Jerusalem. The letter we signed contains a list of requirements to be met by June 15 in order that we may continue to purchase Agriprocessor's products. In that letter, we asked Agriprocessors to:
1. Pay all of its workers at least the federal minimum wage.
2. Recommit the company to abide by all federal, state and local laws including those pertaining to worker safety, sexual harassment, physical abuse, rights of its employees to collective bargaining, and health and sanitation standards.
3. Treat its workers according to the standards that Torah and halakha places on protecting workers--standards which include the spirit of lifnim meshurat hadin, going beyond the bare minimum requirements of the law.
Our efforts are have been noticed by the Jewish Forward, the Jerusalem Post, The Jewish Week, Iowa Independent, JTA and others. See the links below:
The Jewish Press
In order to continue the tremendous success and momentum of this movement, we are looking for kosher meat consumers across the country that are committed to holding Agriprocessors accountable for its lapses by raising awareness in their local communities about our three demands.
The first way to do that is by encouraging others who purchase kosher meat to sign on to the petition. We have set up an online petition on our website. Please direct them to uriltzedek.webnode.com to fill it out.
Second, we are looking for point people across the country who will take this action into their local communities. If you would be interested in being one of these local leaders, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, city, phone number, and brief explanation of why this issue is important to you. We are working to create lists of kosher meat establishments that we are sure do not sell or provide Agriprocessor's meat; we need your help in this area. There have been many requests for a list of such options in cities throughout America.
We would like to inform friends and businesses of some alternative kosher meat sources: Alle Packaging, Meal Mart, Kiryath Joel chicken, Marvid chicken, Chai Chicken, International Glatt, Wise Organic, Solomon's Natural, 999, Empire, Chai, Marvad, David Elliot, and Vineland. Do you know of others?
Using our power as consumers, we are called to make the moral voice of our Jewish tradition heard by our fellow Jews, those perpetuating injustice, and all Americans concerned with an emerging ethical marketplace.
Thank you for all you've done so far. We look forward to working with you in the future!
The Uri L'Tzedek team