Magen Tzedek Responds to Agudath Israel With Falsities


magen-tzedek1The following is a statement from Morris Allen’s Magen Tzedek initiative in response to Agudas Yisroel’s timely statement (see here) regarding the Conservative movement’s planned rollout this summer of its seal of “ethical kosher production,” which will rate kosher food manufacturers according to prescribed standards of ethical behavior.

The Magen Tzedek initiative and the efforts of the likes of Morris Allen played an integral role in the eventual downfall of Agriprocessors and the lies spread about the kosher meat plant in Postville and its operators. The effort, without question, is aimed at the power of Orthodox Yiddishkeit in kashrus supervision.

Magen Tzedek continues to try to paint itself as being “lesheim Shomayim,” camouflaging its true intent.

The following is the statement from Magen Tzedek:

The misleading statement by Agudath Israel concerning Magen Tzedek is a misrepresentation of a very important development in kosher food production in America. Magen Tzedek is based on our assertion that Biblical and Rabbinic law mandate fair treatment of workers (לא תלין), humane treatment of animals ((צער בעלי חיים, and care of the earth (בל תשחית and שמירת הארץ) which can be translated into measurable standards applicable to commercial food production. These standards were developed in collaboration with SAAS, an organization acknowledged worldwide for its expertise in ethical certification programs.

We are appalled that Agudah Israel sees in ethical certification for kosher food an effort that “corrupts Halakhah.” All Jews recognize that Judaism is a religion built upon ethical precepts. The ultimate purpose of Jewish observance is to make us more decent and moral people, more capable of carrying out God’s vision of a just world.

We flatly reject Agudath Israel’s false accusations that we “harbor no respect for the very concept of halakhah.” We have always maintained that the Magen Tzedek would only be awarded to products already bearing kosher certification. Magen Tzedek maintains that Mitzvot bein Adam L’makom (commandments between humanity and God) do not take precedence over Mitzvot bein Adam l’havero (commandments between one person and another).

Maimonides stated said that in fulfillment of Jewish life “one must be strict in their behavior and still go beyond the letter of the law- lifnim mshurat hadin. We see our role as ensuring that such is the case in the production of kosher food. Just as we would never delegate to the government to determine what constitutes proper kashrut certification, neither should we leave to the government enforcement of Jewish norms regarding ethical behavior. Instead of dismissing the work of one another, we call on all Jews to work together to ensure that our actions are truly a Kiddush Hashem–a sanctification of God’s name.

Magen Tzedek affirms the eternal wisdom of Torah by bringing the moral values of Jewish religious tradition to bear on the daily operations of industrial food production, bringing more Jews to value the beauty of kashrut and Jewish observance assuring that we feel truly fulfilled when we sit down around our tables for a meal.

Rabbi Michael Siegal
Magen Tzedek Co-Chair

Gerald Kobell
Magen Tzedek Co-Chair

Rabbi Morris Allen
Project Director

May Hashem protect Klal Yisroel from those who distort the Torah and reformers in our midst.

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  1. When you remove the Yussel then there is very little difference between the beliefs of Jews for Yussel and Conservative/Reform.

    They don’t believe that the Torah was given to us by Hashem. They believe that men/women wrote different potions of it over a period of time. As such, the aforementioned groups can change or adjust the laws of the Torah to their liking whenever they please.

    If you don’t believe that Hashem authored & gave us his Torah then you believe in something other than Judaism.

    When you believe the rants and ravings of those who deny that Hashem himself authored and gave us his Torah and you follow their deviant practices then you are NOT practicing Judaism. Those Conservative and Reform leaders who call themselves “Rabbis” are phonies and are lying to you and to all their congregants. Ask them straight forward “Do you believe that G-d Himself authored and gave us His Torah?” Watch them squirm as they eloquently try to confuse you with their lies.

    VeHi She’Omda, in the Haggadah refers not only to physical threats from the outside but also from spiritual annihilists who are trying to get inside, i.e. Conservative, Reform, Reconstruction, etc.

  2. If they only “certify” products that already have an Orthodox hashgocha anyway, how are they aiming at “the power of Orthodox Yiddishkeit in kashrus supervision?

  3. If they are so lesheim shomayim, why don’t they apologize for the lies they made up about Agriprocessors which were proven in court to have been fabricated?

  4. The addition of “With Falsities” in your headline is a personal opinion – not the news. Why do you always do that? Instead, please report the news as reputable news sited do and then for your opinion, “Leave a Comment” as anyone else. Same goes for this: “May Hashem protect Klal Yisroel from those who distort the Torah and reformers in our midst.”. It is wrong on many levels but like the KGB, nothing is forever. Thank you for listening.

  5. Again, why is this “ethical” epiphy limited to authentically kosher food? ( that’s besides the fact that they are very little about kashruth) Shouldn’t his shirts be made in the USA by “ethical” workers?

    Are they attempting to sell some bidges as well?

  6. “Maimonides stated said that in fulfillment of Jewish life “one must be strict in their behavior and still go beyond the letter of the law- lifnim mshurat hadin.” – That’s rich! Let’s see them promote going ‘beyond the letter of the law’ in observing Shabbos and TH!!

  7. “May Hashem protect Klal Yisroel from those who distort the Torah and reformers in our midst.”

    It all sounded good until this. Is that supposed to be a joke?

  8. Let Rabbi Morris leave kashrut alone,

    How about starting with his shul’s landscaper.
    Are all the workers legal? Is there a workman’s comp policy in place, are the workers being treated fairly etc.
    How about any other services the shul uses, such as waiters cleaning crew etc.
    Next, lets move on to the congregation, are all the lawyers and doctors billing fairly and honestly.
    Let’s move on to the car manufacturers the congregation drive and the computer and clothing makers.
    The list is endless.
    STAY OUT OF MY KITCHEN MENUVAL (check out his shul website:
    check out this link:

  9. Please clarify, what point of Magen Tzedek’s letter do you find objectionable? I can’t seem to find a single statement there that is contrary to halacha. Is your problem really just the people proposing it?

  10. #11,

    The people behind Magen Tzedek don’t care about Halacha, except when it happens to coincide with their values. For example, Morris Allen will officiate at same-gender “marriages,” presumably, because, in this instance, his “progressive” understanding supercedes the Halacha.

  11. #13:
    What does that have to do with the propriety of magen tzedek? Does a person’s violation of one halacha (or many) deligitimize everything he does? If

    Let us condemn the things that are bad, but be confident enough in our own convictions to accept (even if we need not actively support) that which is acceptable.

  12. #14,

    It depends why a person violates certain Halachos. If he does so out of weakness (i.e. his Yetzer Horah), that doesn’t take away from the other Mitzvos he observes. However, if a person does not believe that Halacha is binding (which makes him an Apikorus, by the way) and, therefore, only keeps the parts of the Torah which he happens to agree with, he will not get any credit for the “Mitzvos” he performs, because he is only interested in doing his own will, not G-d’s will.

    That’s bad enough. But for such a group to create a “Kashrus” symbol and to pretend to be concerned about Halacha is a farce at best, and a Chillul Hashem at worst.

  13. I can understand why people are confused about their statement. It all sounds reasonable and makes sense. The difference is that for us, we are not necessarily asked if it makes sense. We have a Torah and we have a Mesora (Torah Shel Baal Peh). We may not necessarily understand everything that we are required to do. Does everything in Kashrus make sense – not necessarily (I do like this word) to our human minds. As Rabbi Isaac Bernstein Z”L said in the name of Rabbi Koppel Rosen Z”L – “Honesty is the best policy, and even if it isn’t we have to keep it because the Torah tells us to”

    Currently, Conservative Judaism is going through an identity crisis. Asking its members to keep the Torah doesn’t make sense to them in this modern world. What does make sense to them is looking after your neighbor and fellow human being. There is no logic for them in looking after your fellow Jew more than any other human being. That is why they are promoting Tikun Olom in a big way. This is a seismic shift for them and may go some to explain why they are promoting this campaign.

    Gut Shabbos (to the Orthodox readers)

  14. Reading the Magen Zedek’s response it seems they are trying too hard and BTW what Mitzvah out of the 613 is Shmiras HaAretz?

  15. I almost barfed. Such chutzpah!

    Maimonides stated said that in fulfillment of Jewish life “one must be strict in their behavior and still go beyond the letter of the law- lifnim mshurat hadin.

    Wow!! The chazer is talking about lifnim meshuras hadin?!??!???? While I have nothing against the general masses of conservative or reform as people and Jews, they should not stick out their hooves and say “I am kosher”. No, wait take it to the next step, this chazer wants to say he is kosher, and to tell you what is or isnt kosher too!!! Chutzpah!!!!

  16. Social Justice is a euphemism for communism/socialism. This is a Jewish attempt at Liberation Theology; beware of these Marxist charlatans trying to co-opt kashrus.

  17. I know you moderators will refuse to publish this comment, but how insecure must the frum world be to be threatened by a group that simply wants workers to have a decent employment environment.

  18. Mandy, give me a break. Don’t make it like Magein Tzedek is all pure and lesheim shomayim. They are big fat phonies who adhere to nothing of Jewish law. Mitamol they want to claim to be paragons of virtue. Give me a break. We know the alterior motive. It ahs been spelled out here dozens of times.

  19. Ha! The joke is on Morris Allen and his cohorts. This whole thing will be an abject failure. No one will ever support this. It’s a sham.

  20. What a phony! He is more concerned about Zaar baalei chaim of an animal, then that of a fellow Jew!

    He played a major role in the besmirching of Reb Sholom Rubashkin that led to the government (both the prosecutors and the judicial) targeting him forlife in prison, and then building a case towards that goal. And he is yet proud of it! Afrah Lepumei!

    This man is a shtick retzichah, and on him our sages said: Moridin v’loh maalin.

  21. Lots of passion and emotions expressed above. But how do Chazal view such situations. Maybe a clue is in the Midrash Rabboh near the beginning of this week’s Sedra (P’ Emor). Rabbi Yuden Ben Menashe points out that in P’ Shemini, when the Torah refers to the Chazir, it first refers to the positive (it does have cloven hooves) and then the negative (it does not chew the cud). What is the point in telling us the good things about an animal that is Tomei (Treif)? The answer appears to be a Posuk in Tehillim (12, 7) “The words of G-D are pure words”.

  22. To 24 Kalman’s Kishke.
    “No One will ever support this.” I guess in your world honesty, integrity and morality mean nothing. Just let it be Kosher or even Glatt Kosher that is all that counts. The rest of Taryag Mitzvot is not important. You are correct. Your mode of Judaism is a sham.

  23. #22,

    If this group wants to promote fair labor conditions or other values, I have no problem with that. However, when Apikorsim, who, among other things, perform same-gender “marriages,” speak in the name of Halacha, the Frum community has a right to protest the hypocrisy and Chillul Hashem.

  24. #27,

    Honesty, integrity, and morality are only meaningful when they are based on the Torah as the fulfillment of G-d’s will, not when they are based on personal, subjective, values. Otherwise, a person’s subjective opinion will give the green light to murdering the infirm (calling it “an act of mercy”), murdering the unborn (calling it “freedom to choose”), supporting same-gender marriage (framing it as a civil rights issue), and supporting immoral behavior (as long as the participants are committed to one another).

  25. Many individuals in the Middle East also claim they are peace lovers… Judge not by what people say, but rather by what they do.

    Targeting only Kosher food products… Sounds to me like those who hate us applying a different set of standards when it comes to Israel, explaining that “cause Jews should be better than that”… While true, THEY should be the last ones saying it.

    My G-D where has common sense disappeared to?!

  26. If “Rabbi” Allen will officiate at the religious ceremony of 2 same-gender individuals,

    will he write up a Get for them, if they decide to divorce later on?

    Which one of the individuals gives the Get?

  27. Love the idea, just don’t call it kashrus.
    Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that frum Jews don’t need to be reminded of these things. By all means, help me support companies who are honest, safe and fair. Don’t call it Kashrus, call it an added certification and it’s all great.