Quite Possibly the Last 'Miscellaneous Post' of 5768
Sentiment against AgriProcessors appears to have hit rock bottom. As Failed Messiah noted, two leading U.S. daily papers published editorials criticizing AgriProcessors today. In a piece titled "More Immigration Chutzpah," The Boston Globe wrote, "Agriprocessors wants it both ways: to continue to exploit illegal workers, but not to give them a chance to improve their lot. If owners don't want their illegal workers to demand better conditions, they shouldn't hire them." In an article titled "What Is AgriProcessors Thinking?", the Los Angeles Times wrote, "With its immigration-related labor woes in Iowa, where it runs the nation's largest kosher meatpacking plant, you'd think Agriprocessors would have learned its lesson. Instead, like immigrants who keep coming back after being deported, it's doing all it can to exploit every crack in the United States' broken immigration system."
On The Jew & The Carrot yesterday, Rabbi David Seidenberg wrote, "There’s a level of public lying which is not easily excused. A level which is so lowly and bald-faced that there really can’t be any normal or average t’shuvah process (repentance) for it. I think Agriprocessors may have reached that level a while ago." He concluded, "At the very least, the level of t’shuvah required before Agri can be considered ne’eman, trustworthy people, should require us to keep in place a long-term boycott."
I could go on and on about AgriProcessors, but I'll delve into other issues.
In the wake of the May raid at AgriProcessors, Alle Processing has become the leading kosher beef producer in the U.S., the Forward reported today. In response to that article, Failed Messiah points out, "Workers get no health insurance, have no paid vacations, and have little to no safety training. . . . Workers are compelled to work overtime without notice or risk firing or suspension without pay. Workers have no paid sick leave and are not paid for time spent at home if injured on the job. Workers are not paid for holidays when the plant is closed and, when the plant closes for Jewish holidays, the workers are not paid, either." Failed Messiah concludes:
You want to keep kosher but you care about the rest of Jewish law, the parts that demand fair treatment for workers? What should you do?
You have to stop eating meat.
Last week, I noted that PETA had sent a letter urging New York government officials to crack down on a kapporos center in Brooklyn for apparent cruelty to animals and potential consumer fraud. Click here to read a much more extensive JTA article about this, courtesy of Failed Messiah. Failed Messiah also posted a terrific firsthand account of someone who used to practice kapporos but has since stopped:
I used to do kaparot with a live chicken for years, part of my chassidic heritage though I am [Modern Orthodox]. I was never comfortable with the ritual but I thought that animals were created for us and as long as there was no outright cruelty then no problem. This changed 3 years ago when I went to monsey for kaparot. The biggest one there is done by Vishnitz. Apparantly some kollel guy tried to do some business where he bought as many chickens as possible crammed in as tight a spot as possible. To save money of course. Anyway the vast majority of chickens died of asphixiation and heat stroke from not having water and too many chickens crammed together generated so much body heat they died. So what did the frum businessman do? He appologizes and then applies the laws of supply and demand and raises the prices. Here comes the kicker, the chickens were not going to be used for poor people to eat. They were going to be sold at market and money donated to poor people. Everyone could have prevented the mass tzar baalei chaim and just donated the money. Since then I use money. I don't know how someone can be harsh to an animal and proceed to ask God for compassion the next minute.
Fox 5 New York ran a cute story about a $10,000 bark mitzvah. Elvis the dog read an arftorah and wore a tallis and a kippah. Guests even danced the hora. Elvis' guardian fired the rabbi who was supposed to be at the event because the rabbi questioned whether a bark mitzvah was appropriate. Click here to read my post from last year about the bark mitzvah trend.