Rabbi Genack: OU Will Not Object to Magen Tzedek

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rav-menachem-genackThe Conservative movement’s planned rollout this summer of its seal of “ethical kosher production,” the Magen Tzedek, will rate kosher food manufacturers according to prescribed standards of ethical behavior regarding workers, animals, the environment and financial dealings.

Magen Tzedek is being tested at three kosher plants to see how well the process works. Once testing concludes after Pesach, those three manufacturers will go through the actual Magen Tzedek “evaluation procedure,” reports JTA, and the first kosher foods carrying the new seal should be on supermarket shelves before Rosh Hashanah, according to commission co-chair Rabbi Michael Siegel.

The identity of the companies involved in the trial is being kept under wraps, but at least one is a “major food producer,” Rabbi Morris Allen, Magen Tzedek’s program director, told JTA.

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.

On Sunday, April 3, Allen spoke publicly about his Magen Tzedek “hechsher” and said that Rabbi Menachem Genack of the OU is looking forwarding to having Magen Tzedek next to the OU and that Allen is helping to restore a culture of kashrus in America.

Rabbi Genack, according to sources, has said that he was misquoted by Allen.

According to the JTA report, Rabbi Genack “stands by the position he articulated soon after the May 2008 immigration raid on the Agriprocessors kosher meatpacking plant. The Iowa plant’s demise pushed the Magen Tzedek project to the front burner of Conservative movement priorities.”

The JTA quotes Rabbi Genack as saying, “We believe that all these important issues – the environment, workers’ rights and so on – are most effectively handled by government agencies that have the expertise and the mandate to monitor them.”

Rabbi Genack said that the OU was “dismayed” at Allen’s appearance on a recent episode of the TV show “American Greed” devoted to Reb Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, who is now serving a 27-year prison sentence.

“The sentence is a travesty,” Rabbi Genack told JTA.

“If there is a company that wants to use Magen Tzedek, we will not object to it appearing on the label. We also would not object to them putting halal on their label,” Rabbi Genack told JTA. “These are marketing decisions the company makes on its own.”

{Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}

28 COMMENTS

  1. Opinion: although the OU doesn’t object per se I strongly feel they need to release a statement expressing the huge differences between OUR KOSHER and THEIR KOSHER. the OU must make this clear so that all jews and non-jews alike should not mix these two up. you don’t want a company advertising that their product is kosher if in fact all they have is a Magen Tzedek sticker. Anyone disagree?

  2. The consumer SHOULD object magen tzedek.
    The people behind it are not concerned about Hashem, Torah, or Klal Yisroel. The only thing they are concerned about, is what the liberal media thinks of us. silly, the biggest haters of todays generation are on the left.

  3. magen tzedek is as kosher as bacon cheeseburger. It really serves no purpose to the orthodox consumer and I hope with a little education businesses will learn that.

  4. Question #1: Will Magen Shmendrek provide their seal of approval to food products which are manufactured under humane conditions etc. but which are not under the supervision of a Kashruth agency?

    Question #2: If the Torah community will not boycott items carrying the Magen seal, will we be guilty of legitimizing this non-entity which was created to undermine Kashruth and the Orthodox control of what gets to call itself “Kosher”?

    Question #3: Would you eat by Morris Allen in his home?

  5. • This is wrong. Rabbi Genack and the OU should reconsider their position. The Conservative movement have no interest in furthering Kashrus, just their own twisted agenda. “Rabbi’s” that don’t keep kosher pretending that Kashrus means something?

    Morris Allen making sure that someone’s I-9 is filled out and not really caring about anything else? Please don’t waste your time with these people. They are making fools of us. Rabbi Genack and the OU should immediately reverse the errant statement made reading Allen’s creative method of making a buck . There should be no room for the OU where hypocrites like Allen reside.
    •

  6. This is wrong. Rabbi Genack and the OU should reconsider their position. The Conservative movement have no interest in furthering Kashrus, just their own twisted agenda. “Rabbi’s” that don’t keep kosher pretending that Kashrus means something?

    Morris Allen making sure that someone’s I-9 is filled out and not really caring about anything else? Please don’t waste your time with these people. They are making fools of us. Rabbi Genack and the OU should immediately reverse the errant statement made regarding Allen’s creative method of making a buck . There should be no room for the OU where hypocrites like Allen reside.

  7. In what way is the OK worse than the Hechsher Tzedek?

    -Besides the fact, why band with a known troublemaker in the Kosher food industry?

  8. To #’s 9 and 10:
    It seems that Rabbi Genack is taking a position that, as the foremost kashrus certification agency in the US, he must take: that he does not object to products carrying both the OU hechsher and MT sticker. The OU cannot make their hechsher contingent on a company refusing to cooperate with MT.

    That doesn’t mean,however, that he doesn’t object to MT in general, and I think that the distinction is pretty clear in the way he describes his remarks.

  9. This is a terrible tragedy…it suggests that Torah ethics as expressed and practiced by frume yidden is antiquated. The Conservative movement, on the other hand, deals with the important issues, like ethics, etc.
    Hashem Yishmor!
    This horrible man Mr. Allen is the farthest thing from ethics one can possibly be!!!
    A happy and Kosher Pesach to all!
    May we celebrate in the Bais Hamikdosh in Yerushalayim with Moshiach…so that he can save us from the tragedies we bring upon ourselves!

  10. The “Conservative movement” is not Judaism, as it violates the Torah; so its “Hechsher” means nothing.

    Therefore, the OU should deny the legitimacy of this “Hechsher” and protest its being on the same food label as the OU.

    How can “Magen Tzedek” be equated with “Halal” ?

    “Halal” means food which conforms to Moslem standards. Moslem does not misrepresent itself as being Jewish.

  11. it is possible that rabbi genack is protecting ou from a lawsuit.if coke tells a supermarket that if they sell pepsi, then they wont sell them coke. that’s restraint of trade. if ou tells coke that if they get hechsher tzedek, then they will pull the ou, they are opening themselves to a lawsuit.

  12. As long as the Magen Tzedek doesn’t try and portray itself as certifying Kashrus I don’t see a problem. We don’t care about it; it doesn’t make the food treif to have it on the label. I hope, for everyone’s sake, that the Magen Tzedek is only given to products that have Kashrus supervision. Giving it to nonkosher products I would have a problem with.

  13. I will add to my above comment the quotation from the Magen Tzedek website: “The Magen Tzedek service mark will only be appended to products that are already certified as kosher. Any kosher certification agency deemed unacceptable by the Conservative Movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards will not be eligible to have its products carry an adjacent Magen Tzedek service mark.”

    Like everything else, it is up to the consumer to determine which hechsherim to trust. However, given the above statement, I believe that the Magen Tzedek is irrelevant at worst.

  14. its is indeed irrelevant if one of our orthodox hechshers has some seal of approval next to it saying its humane too, or goodhousekeeping seal or organic, the problem is in the velt their seal represents ethics or more jewish ethics, and the problem with that is we should allow these mushchosim conservative jewry to represent ethics as if we ourselves dont.
    the truth is we are in a pickle because if the ou themseves would give an ethical seal that would be a joke too, the velt would say what bussiness scam is the ou up to now, so they basically cant do it themselves, and to have other orthodox jews give it is an option but inreality a joke since its stupid and willbe looked at as a scam..
    the best thing would be convince some goyshe organization to give an ethical seal, like this it wont legitimize the conservatives, and keep it the way it really is irrelevant to kashrus

  15. that might be what they are saying now but look at this article http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/04/11/3086793/conservative-rabbis-flex-kosher-muscle-as-magen-tzedek-nears-roll-out Conservatives taking kashrut challenge up a notch

    “Our rabbis are as knowledgable about kashrut as their Orthodox colleagues, and care about it as much as they do,” said Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly, the movement’s main rabbinical group. “But our emphasis is on raising Jewish adherence to kashrut observance rather than professional ritual kashrut supervision. Magen Tzedek is our unique contribution to building awareness around the impact that kashrut is intended to have upon our full development as Jews.”
    they are trying to change kashrus

  16. I think the OU is being PoliticallyCoRrect, but 100 percent wrong. I hope to not buy something with allen’s mark. He is a chote umachate, and thinks thet he is shomer torah. What a joke and travesty. Keep away from him. This was all started when someone (well meaning) in unzere machane joined with him- mistyakenly. Vihamaven Yaven.

  17. I taught with Rabbi Genack at Touro some 20 years ago and there would be no way he would endorse anything eminating from non-torah faithful sources.
    As to side with the Government’s case which in essence is what American Greed did in its reportage of the Rubashkin Case, casts doubt as to how much Zedek the Magen Zedek is based on?

  18. I plan on boycotting any product with Magen Zedek and let the companies know why I am boycotting their product. I hope many others join me. Magen Zedek=Rubashkins Blood!! I plan on calling or emailing them and telling them I am not buying their product because it is had blood on it.

  19. Any word from the OU? Word is they are working on a statement on this to clarify their stance. Keep us posted please. We are sure they will do the right thing.

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