Agudas Yisroel: ‘Magein Tzedek’ is Unmitigated Chutzpah


magen-tzedekThe following is a statement from Agudas Yisroel of America regarding Morris Allen’s Magen Tzedek initiative, covered extensively here on

A new seal for kosher products and establishments being promoted by the Conservative movement is reportedly about to appear alongside those of Orthodox kashrus agencies. The “Magen Tzedek” certification is intended to signify adherence to certain standards regarding labor, treatment of animals, safety, environmental concerns and corporate integrity.

Such issues are worthy ones but they are well covered by governmental regulations and other areas of halacha, as determined by recognized Torah authorities. They have nothing to do with kashrut.

The goal of “Magen Tzedek,” however, is nothing less than to redefine kashrut. Magen Tzedek is the symbol of an entity called the “Hekhsher Tzedek Commission.” Its exclusive purview is food. In its own literature, it calls itself the “gold standard of kashrut”; prominently claims to offer “kashrut for the 21st century”; and states its objective: to “improve our consciousness, understanding and practice of kashrut by extending the definition beyond ritual to reflect ethical, environmental and social concerns.”

There is no such thing as “ritual.” There is only halacha – the holiness we are enjoined by our Creator to embrace. To in any way change halacha is to corrupt the essence of the concept of mitzvah, Divine commandment.

The brazen effort of Magen Tzedek to change the Jewish mesorah, or religious tradition, should come as no surprise, considering its source. The Conservative movement has repeatedly shown that it harbors no respect for the very concept of halacha as it has been carefully preserved with great sacrifice by observant Jews through the ages. For a movement that does not subscribe to halacha to suddenly inject itself into a complex halachic realm like kashrut – with the avowed purpose of “extending the definition” of kashrut – should strike any informed Jews as unmitigated chutzpah.

We Jews have a responsibility to not only ethics but to the entirety of the Torah. All of us who recognize the Divine nature of halacha, along with our established kashrut organizations, should regard the new seal for what it is, a falsification of the Jewish religious heritage, and treat it accordingly.

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  1. Once again we see how fortunate we are to have an Agudas Yisroel in our midst, representing true Torah amongst a sea of Kefirah.
    A statement such as this is painfully drafted and released only because our Gedolim recognize how a seemingly innocuous “shtempel” can lead to further irreparable destruction of our Mesorah; a destruction started by the Reform movement and quickly followed up by the Conservatives.
    There may very well be well-meaning Jews among those movements, but we must “draw the line” when their poisoned arrows are aimed directly at the heart of our Mesorah.

  2. Why do you feel so threatened by it. Obviously there is a need to let the public know who is kosher in business in addition to kosher with regards to eating. Me thinks you protest too much. This is a good thing. Only thos with something to hide would protest this.

  3. I doubt this Conservative hashgacha will last long. The koshering of meat is a hard and expensive process. Most people will not take this hashgacha seriously and producers & merchants will not pay for this if it has not added value.

  4. To SHELDON. “Something to hide”? so you think orthodox Jewish poultry producers are vicious satanic people who lust for animal blood and enjoy their painful death? get real dude, they are just like any other poultry company save the kashrut, and they try just as hard as any company to retain the standards that are expected by law. So why dont all you losers shut up and watch TV, LEAVE GOOD PEOPLE ALONE.

  5. They probably wouldn’t sanction any animal that was shechted al pi halochoh because of “cruelty to animals”. I’d be interested to know what fleishig products would bear there seal of approval.

  6. Anyone who does a little research will find, on the magen tzedek’s website, that:

    “The Magen Tzedek mark is not intended to replace any kosher certification agency’s supervision or their certification mark (“hekhsher”). The Magen Tzedek service mark is in addition to, not instead of, the kosher hekhsher mark.”

    “The Magen Tzedek service mark will only be appended to products that are already certified as kosher.”

    It is simply not true of the author of this letter to say, “The goal of ‘Magen Tzedek,’ however, is nothing less than to redefine kashrut.”

  7. They will surely have an on-site Mahara”t or Rabbah in every plant that they certify. Any other way would be a male chauvinist form of Kashrus…

  8. Who says that the government authorities are taking into account tzaar baalei chaim to an adequate degree? According to most Rishonim, it’s a d’Oraisa. Shouldn’t Yidden who are striving to keep Torah to the highest standard, look for a higher standard in avoiding tzaar baalei chaim than just making do with whatever the goyim find acceptable?

  9. Why doesn’t anyone take on the CLEANLINESS of the facility that produces the food? Something like the “grade system” for restaurants.

    Is your food being prepared under sanitary condition? Or is some Shmerel smoking and picking his nose or worse while packing your schmaltz herring. Is the jell in your gefilte fish naturally cloudy? It’s not!

    Check the cleanliness of all food products!!!

  10. To Nosson Nota: Think for a moment. They state that they want a higher Morality relating to many issues that have no relationship to Halachic Kashrus.
    So why are they concentrating only on Kosher food products? What about all the non kosher food manufacturers whose products their conservative constituents hardly shy away from as many of my Conservative aquaintances tell me. What about Brokerage houses on Wall Sreet, Construction companies, Public Utilities, Auto manufactoring plants with products coming from many foreign markets. The list is all encompassing.
    Don’t they all have to adhere to high moral standards?
    Why don’t they concentrate on those?

    Are they telling their constituents not to shop at Wall Mart due to lawsuits by their employees for unfair practices?

    The answer to me is evident. They want to confuse and obscure the real Kosher symbols. If I may be so bold to say so, I believe they are jealous of their success. I think it irks them to see so many marginally religious and also the many non-jews who buy Kosher because of the higher quality of the products.

    Thats why Agudath Israel is right in their reaction.
    This is no religous revival. This is jealousy
    of the success of these orthodox oganizations whom they see as rivals for the minds of many people ignorent of their heritage.

  11. An afterthought for Nosson Nota:
    The term KOSHER as related to food, has had only one meaning for a millenium – Halachic Kashruth, nothing else. The English language is rich in words. Why use the word KOSHER? Call it MORALITY FOOD, or whatever.

    By creating a NEW “Kashruth” they are obscuring and confusing the real meaning of the word for many people. They are attacking the Orthodox concept of Kosher.
    This really represents what the Conservative leadership is unfortunately mostly about. Pseudo religion and negativity.
    That’s why they are slowly but surely dwindling and losing their constituancies as their own studies show. Lets hope that one day they will see the light.

  12. The Orthodox Kashrus certifying agencies should let food companies know that their genuine Kashrus certification and the phony “Magen Tzedek” certification CANNOT co-exist on the same package;

    and that if “Magen Tzedek” is used, the Orthodox Kashrus certification will be withdrawn.

  13. To Sheldon and icomeanon:

    Why are they seeking to institute this “heksher” only on kosher food producers. Shouldn’t all the products we use be made by unionized companies? Why just kosher food?

  14. the fact that there are so many comments warrants a Chushim Ben Dan to knock some sechel into us. Of course everything the Conservative movement does is Chazer treif!!

    He tramples on the Torah every day, he knows nothing about kosher..keep far away from him. hes dangerous

    Rabbi Allen will officiate at the wedding of … While recognizing that marriages between same-gender individuals do not yet enjoy civil recognition in Minnesota, Rabbi Allen will officiate at their religious ceremony.

  15. Please don’t call this Allen guy a Rabbi! It gives Rabbi’s a bad name.

    He’s a conservative or reform leader. These are ‘people’ who lie to others and tell them that conservative and reform is Jewish streams. They are not streams. They are cesspools of made up garbage that these phony leaders try to pawn of as “Jewish Law” or “Halakha”.

    Unfortunately, many people don’t know any better and believe these eloquent morons.

  16. He’s total right…When I went to a ‘modern jewish day school’ they never taught us this concept of ‘Mesorah’ it was this old school thing from Fiddler on the Roof. So it’s understandable why they would come up with this ‘modable torah’ and ‘modern kashurt concept. More jews will be cheated out of Yiddishkeit for the sake of Modernism.

  17. To #1,
    “A statement such as this is painfully drafted ”

    You meant to say it was carefully drafted, or painstakingly drafted.

  18. To #31:
    No, I meant what I wrote; drafted in pain.
    It was also painstakingly drafted, that’s true; but that’s wasn’t my intent. It hurts to have to respond to something like this.

  19. What’s the issue?
    As so many others have already said, it’s not designed to replace other hashgachot.
    The reason it’s only being applied to kosher products is that the values it represents are Jewish ones at their roots, and it’s appropriate for products consumed by Jews to be kosher in spirit, as well as according to the letter of the law.