A few weeks ago, I noted that Magen Tzedek had issued tentative new guidelines for animal welfare and other ethical issues. A separate post looking at the animal welfare aspects of the Magen Tzedek guidelines is forthcoming.
On September 15, The Jewish Week ran an in-depth article, titled "A Market For Ethical Kosher?" Earlier this month, a Forward editorial noted:
In releasing ambitious guidelines to marry new ethical standards with the traditional laws of kashrut, the leaders of the Conservative movement are taking a bold step to align it with a Judaism that cares as much about social justice as it does about ritual practice. But the success of this endeavor depends on whether rank-and-file Conservative Jews will care as much about ritual practice as they do about social justice. . . .More Kapparot Coverage
[D]o Conservative Jews care enough about ritual and practice to make a difference? Only about one-quarter of them keep a kosher home. Will they buy a product because of its Magen Tzedek imprimatur even if the new certification process adds to its cost? Will this reframed concept of kashrut be attractive enough to induce new practitioners? Will the younger Jews who buy organic and flock to environmental conferences find meaning in these guidelines, enough to join a movement that many are spurning?
The success of Magen Tzedek does not rely on one denomination alone. There are Orthodox Jews who share these social justice concerns; some have begun their own effort to certify New York-area kosher restaurants based on their labor practices. The Reform movement has endorsed the push for ethical standards.
But this may, indeed, be part of a defining moment for that most American of denominations, the one that embraces modernity while trying to hold fast to tradition, the one that clings to the belief that the Jewish and secular worlds have something to teach each other. The Conservative pulpit has spoken. Now it’s up to those in the pews to respond.
The Forward has posted an article online about PETA's efforts against the use of chickens for kapparot. The article noted, "People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals this year stepped up activism against the practice — when a Jew takes a live chicken and rotates it in a circle while saying prayers to absolve himself of sin. By handing out dollar bills shaped into origami chickens to Lubavitchers in Crown Heights, as well as to Hasidim in Williamsburg and Boro Park, PETA hoped to persuade passersby to give money for their pre-Yom Kippur atonements rather than swing chickens." Click here to read last night's "Kapparot Recap" post.
A Scent of Scandal President on The Huffington Post
Readers may recall last year's post about A Scent of Scandal, a vegan candle company. A Scent of Scandal president Ari Solomon started writing for The Huffington Post earlier this month. Check out his first two articles, "Who You Callin' Vegangelical?" and "Down With the Truth."
Useless ID Celebrates 15-Year Anniversary
Vegetarian Israeli punk band Useless ID played a show to mark their 15-year anniversary on September 19. The band welcomed song suggestions from fans on Facebook, saying, "If you have a favorite OLD song (that is our song, dummy) that you would want us to play at the show post it here. We will later make Yotam [Ben Horin, the band's singer] go over EVERYONE'S comments and make him choose the songs to the set list." Check out last year's post "Useless ID: That Hard-Working, Real-Deal Band From Israel."
Carol Leifer Promotes Veganism
Earlier this month, the Forward ran an article about comedian Carol Leifer. (Click here to read heebnvegan's July post about Leifer's PETA PSA.) The Forward piece concludes:
Going vegan last year, Leifer says, opened her eyes to the cruelties of factory farming -- including kosher slaughterhouses. “Growing up, it was always, ‘If you buy kosher meat, they’re killed humanely.’ But I’ve seen so many horrible videos. What we thought was humane 100 years ago is not humane anymore. The ways animals suffer, I just couldn’t be a part of it anymore.” Does she miss pastrami? Corned beef? “Way far from missing it,” she said, “I’m sorry I didn’t have this revelation earlier. I sleep better and more soundly because I’m not participating anymore.”