web analytics
September 24, 2014 / 29 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘KOSHER’

The Giraffe Mezuzah

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Here’s an interesting question. In Denmark they banned Shechitah – the humanitarian method of slaughtering kosher animals for food, while simultaneouslyslaughtering two perfectly healthy, beautiful giraffes – because the giraffes were “unsuitable for breeding”.

As JewishPress.com readers probably already know, the giraffe is actually a kosher animal, and the myth that we don’t know where to cut it along the neck, is just that, a myth (anywhere is fine).

Here’s the question: Would Denmark have permitted the kosher slaughter of the giraffes which they brutally and pointlessly murdered because they were inconvenient?

I ask the question because Professor Zohar Amar of Bar Ilan University managed to recover and restore the ancient method of processing giraffe hide to turn it into kosher parchment, according to a report in Makor Rishon, a method that was lost to all Jews, except those from Yemen (those guys remember everything).

Giraffe hide is particularly thick, making it perfect for transforming it into parchment and writing Mezuzot (plural of Mezuza) and Torah scrolls.

According to the Rambam and Rabeinu Tam, the kosher animal does not even need to be slaughtered by Shechitah in order to be used as a kosher parchment, so the researchers at Bar Ilan used a giraffe from the Ramat Gan safari that had died for the purpose of their research.

British Vets Want Ban on Ritual Slaughter

Friday, March 7th, 2014

The president-elect of the British Veterinary Association called for a ban on slaughtering cattle without first stunning it, which in effect would outlaw traditional kosher slaughter.

In an interview with the Times, John Blackwell called for prohibiting kosher and halal slaughter because it causes pain to the animal for “five or six seconds,” according to reports.

“They will feel the massive injury of the tissues of the neck,” Blackwell said in the interview. “They will perceive the aspiration of blood. They will breathe in before they lose consciousness.”

Blackwell, who has been accused by religious leaders of “inflaming prejudice,” says animals must be stunned before the cut.

“We are looking for a meeting of minds to review the evidence base which clearly shows that slaughtering animals without stunning compromises welfare,” Blackwell told the Daily Mail. “If that can’t happen then I would like labelling at the point of sale that gives the consumer informed choice. If that is not possible we would be looking for a ban for killing without stunning.”

“There is no insensibility for these animals by cutting its throat and these remain conscious for seven seconds for sheep and two minutes for cattle and that is not acceptable,” he insisted. “As a vet and scientist welfare is top of our list.”

Jonathan Arkush, vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, responded: “I really regret John Blackwell’s remarks, which are completely misleading. Animals that are killed for the Jewish or Muslim markets do not bleed to death. Animals that are killed for the general market or the Muslim and Jewish market are killed in exactly the same way. A large animal has its throat cut and this renders it insensible to pain and unconscious. The Jewish method is designed to bring that about instantly, and using tendentious language is not helpful.”

You’ll note that neither Blackwell nor Arkush are able to offer real evidence to their claims, other than observations from a safe distance. It is impossible to discern objectively whether the animal is experiencing pain or not as its life is fading, and certainly not whether the animal is experiencing the same level of pain throughout the process.

Shimon Cohen, the campaign director of Shechita UK, which aims to preserve kosher slaughter, or shechitah, said the initiative was a “dereliction of duty.”

“Of the countless pressing animal welfare issues that we are faced with today, he has chosen to focus on an issue which is not supported by scientific consensus and which affects a tiny minority of animals,” Cohen said in a statement.

“Animal welfare is at the heart of everything that we do. It is scandalous that, once again, in the context of such pervasive cruelty in so many abattoirs, that the BVA continue to single out faith communities for criticism.”

More than 6,000 animals are killed in religious abattoirs every week in Britain, according to the Mail. The halal meat market is believed to be worth up to an estimated £2billion.

Charities including Compassion in World Farming and the RSPCA also support the move to ban the slaughter of animals without stunning first.

Last week the Danish government was accused of being antisemitic for passing a law banning the religious slaughter of animals for halal and kosher meat.

The new law has been called antisemitic, the Mail reports, and “a clear interference in religious freedom.”

European Union regulations require animals be stunned before slaughter, unless an exemption can be found on religious grounds. Under Jewish law and halal under Islamic law, the animals must be conscious.

 

Some JTA content was used in this report.

A Kosher Supermarket is About to Close and the Question is Why

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

The announcement by the 75-year old Crown Market in West Hartford, Connecticut, that it would be closing sent shock waves through the Jewish community.

Mark Bakeoff, who bought the market five years ago, said tough economic conditions and increasing competition have made things difficult, but the biggest blow came with “one of the worst winters on record in a decade.” Despite attempts to save the market, the owner is not optimistic. Sources told Kosher Today that the store did not cater to the community’s small but growing Orthodox community.

Mark Silk, a professor of religion in public life at Trinity College in Hartford, explains that one of the reasons Crown Market is closing  is because “the Ultra-Orthodox did not believe the market was kosher enough and refused to patronize it.” Silk goes on to explain that modern Judaism has seen a decline among what he terms the “Modern Orthodox” and an increase in the number of Ultras. Rabbi Ilana Garber, a Conservative rabbi and a loyal Crown customer, is leading the efforts to save the supermarket.

The announcement of the pending closure resulted in some soul searching by many Jews in the community. One blogger wrote: “I chose to shop at the new neighborhood Wal-Mart because we wanted to save money. What I realize now, much too late, is that if I had shopped at Crown and paid a little bit more, I would have been supporting this important part of the Jewish community that we cherish and love. And now, with a heavy heart, I admit I was wrong. I apologize. I know that isn’t enough. I wish it were. I wish I could promise to shop there for now on. I wish I could get 500 families to pledge to do the same. I wish I had known they were in trouble so I could have done something, anything.”

Other bloggers also shed tears and one vacationer in Turks and Cacos even placed an order long distance. Many markets and even restaurants have opened because of a pledge of community support only to close when the support was not forthcoming. The upscale Le Masada Restaurant in the Hyatt Regency in Chicago was one such case in the late ‘90’s.

Danish Jewish Leader Disputes Report of Ban on Kosher Slaughter

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

The president of Denmark’s Jewish community has disputed a government minister’s claims that new regulations would outlaw all kosher slaughter in the country.

“We find this an odd statement,” Finn Schwarz, the community’s president, told JTA on Thursday about statements made earlier in the week by Agriculture Minister Dan Jorgensen to the Ritzau news agency.

Jorgensen was speaking about slaughter without prior stunning — a requirement for kosher certification of meat in Jewish Orthodox law and for halal certification of meat for observant Muslims. Jorgensen said, “I am in favor of religious slaughter, but it must be done in a way that does not bring pain to the animal. This can be accomplished only by stunning.”

Danish Jews already agreed in 1998 to the certification as kosher of meat from cattle that were stunned with non-penetrative captive bolt pistols, Schwarz said, adding that the decision was made in consultation with the British Chief Rabbi’s office. The new regulation will not ban the slaughter of animals after stunning with non-penetrative captive bolts, he added.

The new regulations, regardless of how they are interpreted, do not directly affect Denmark’s 6,000 Jews because there are not kosher slaughterhouses in the country. All kosher meat is imported.

The European Jewish Press reported Thursday that European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy Tonio Borg told a Jewish leader during a meeting in Brussels that the new Danish legislation regulating ritual slaughter in the country contradicts European laws that ensure the right of religious groups to perform ritual slaughtering.

Jewish Orthodox law and Muslim law require animals be intact and conscious when they are killed. Non-penetrative captive bolts were permitted because they do not wound the animal, which is slaughtered immediately after being knocked on the head.

Rabbi Yitzi Loewenthal of Copenhagen said the agreement on the use of captive-bolt, non-penetrating pistols may have applied to post-cut stunning, a procedure in which the animal’s head is knocked immediately after its neck is cut. Some rabbis have allowed the procedure elsewhere in the world. However, because shechitah is not regularly performed in Denmark, some issues regarding the procedure are not immediately clear, Loewenthal said.

Poland’s Chief Rabbi Suspends Aide over Kosher Slaughter Controversy

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Amid reports that kosher slaughter is continuing in Poland in the face of a law prohibiting it, the country’s chief rabbi suspended an aide who appears to have misrepresented the practice to government inspectors.

The aide, Michael Alper, wrote a letter to Polish veterinarians in which he asked for permission to slaughter 250 cows after stunning them with electricity, in accordance with Polish law. The November 2013 letter, which was obtained by JTA, carried Alper’s title of “Rabbinate coordinator for Kosher production in Poland.”

But if the animals had undergone kosher slaughter, or shechitah, then they could not have been stunned, because Jewish law requires animals be conscious when they are killed, Poland’s chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, told JTA Tuesday.

“Stunning cannot be used in shechitah, and saying it was used is a very serious mistake,” Schudrich said.

“What he [Alper] has written is completely unacceptable and he has been suspended from his position pending an investigation,” Schudrich added.

Alper’s letter was leaked to media amid claims that kosher slaughter has continued in Poland despite a 2012 court ruling that went into effect in January 2013 and effectively prohibited Jewish and Muslim ritual slaughter. The court ruling nullified a 2004 government directive that had exempted Muslims and Jews from the Polish legal requirement of stunning before slaughter.

Poland’s Channel 1 last month ran promotional videos for a program reporting that kosher slaughter was allegedly continuing in Polish slaughterhouses. The show was supposed to air Feb. 4 but has been postponed.

A source involved in the show’s production told JTA on condition of anonymity that the program involved three slaughterhouses where animals underwent kosher slaughter without stunning but whose slaughter was reported to authorities as having been performed after stunning. Alper did the reporting of the supposed stunning, the source said.

Before his suspension, Alper was Schudrich’s representative to slaughterhouses and the Polish agriculture ministry.

“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 obtained by JTA.

Contacted by JTA, Alper declined to answer questions.

Schudrich would neither confirm nor deny claims that commercial kosher slaughter had taken place in Poland after January 2013. But he said 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.”

JTA has obtained pictures of meat labeled as kosher and produced in Poland after January 2013. One package appeared to carry certification from Rabbi Yehuda Osher Steiner of the Manchester Beth Din in Britain.

The Manchester Beth Din did not answer inquiries from JTA about that certification in time for publication.

New Law Mandates Proper Labeling for Kosher Foods Going to Pantries

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Kosher and halal meals going to food pantries must be tracked and labeled as such under a new federal law.

An amendment to the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act enacted last week mandates the tracking and labeling by the Department of Agriculture.

The department currently purchases kosher and halal foods but does not make a deliberate effort to label them as such, making it difficult to ensure that the meals end up in pantries and communities where they are most needed.

“We must take steps to help the neediest observant families and children get access to nutritious food during these difficult times,” U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.

Gillibrand and U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) initiated the amendment.

Rabbi Abba Cohen, the Agudath Israel of America’s vice president for federal government affairs and the Washington director for the Orthodox group, said in a statement that the legislation is “a vital step forward for addressing the needs of the Jewish poor.”

David Frankel, CEO and executive director of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty in New York, noted, “More than one-half million Jewish New Yorkers struggle with food insecurity each and every day.”

Agudah Presses U.S. Military on Kosher Field Meals

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Agudath Israel of America has asked the Pentagon to restore kosher field meals and charged that the Defense Logistics Agency had solicited a bid in April for kosher and halal “meals ready to eat,” but had recast the solicitation last month to include only halal, which adhere to Muslim religious precepts.

“As things stand now, no kosher MREs are being produced and, as previous stock has become depleted, there is essentially nothing currently available for Jewish members of the Armed Forces that meet their religious dietary needs,” Abba Cohen, Agudah’s Washington director, said in a release. “How long this state of affairs will continue is unknown.”

Cohen said he wrote Maj. Gen. Donald Rutherford, the top military chaplain, expressing his “deep concern” but also confidence “that the department will find a way to address the dietary needs of Jewish service personnel” given that the Pentagon is showing “greater interest in broadening religious accommodation” in the military.

The Pentagon announced last month that U.S. troops may accommodate religious beliefs in their garb or grooming, including kippas and beards for Jewish servicemen, as long as it does not frustrate their mission.

The U.S. military introduced kosher MREs in 1999, a result of complaints from Jewish troops during the 1991 Gulf War that such meals were not available.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/agudah-presses-u-s-military-on-kosher-field-meals/2014/02/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: