Thursday, July 20, 2006

Postville, The Forward, and Action - Part IV

Kashrut = Politics.

I've come to that quick and definitive conclusion, especially after reading the latest in the saga concerning AgriProcessors. And this time, the problem has nothing to do with the internal workings of AgriProcessors, and everything to do with the internal workings of the Twin Cities, MN kosher meat organization.

There are Jews here who are in a financial situation where glatt kosher meat is simply cost prohibitive, yet they could afford non-glatt meat - were it available here. And the fact that getting non-glatt meat for those here who will eat it is proving to be more difficult than cleaning for Passover in under 24 hours has meant that there are Jews who are having to make the difficult decision to simply not keep kosher anymore.

To me, it seems perfectly clear: non-glatt meat is still kosher. And isn't it better that Jews (no matter what movement they affiliate with) eat kosher non-glatt meat than non-kosher meat?

I'm concerned that this situation, should it turn out that the Twin Cities distributor has actively prevented the sale of non-glatt meat in St. Paul, will create an environment of anger and distrust between the St. Paul Conservative and Orthodox communities. We have an unusual community, that up until now, has seen wonderful joint actions between the Conservative and Orthodox, and I would hate to see that end because a handful of people thought they had the right to impose their interpretation of kashrut on everyone else.

No matter what the cause for the inability to order non-glatt kosher meat, this all is making it even harder for most of us - who are not rich by any means - to continue to keep kosher.

Lately, our family has taken to eating a lot of vegetarian meals, but that's not always a choice for all families, especially when allergies are involved. And when non-glatt kosher meat is there for the ordering, we shouldn't be forced to choose between glatt meat that we can't afford and no meat at all.

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