Tightening Standards of Kashrus


menachem-lubinskyBy Menachem Lubinsky

I noted with glee that the most recent meeting of the kashrus committees in Dallas dealt with a Bill of Rights for Mashgichim. Sponsored by the Association of Kashrus Organizations, the new policy would seek to safeguard the working conditions and compensation of thousands of kosher supervisors. I also noticed that some of these issues are being openly discussed by kashrus organizations, despite the fact that the largest kashrus organizations have been leap years ahead in protecting their mashgichim from unsafe and unpleasant work environments. I have no doubt that this is a very important development in preserving the high standards of kashrus.Similarly, there appears to be a new awareness that mashgichim and shochtim in processing plants must have a degree of autonomy and not be subject to the same restraints placed on ordinary workers. Charged with safeguarding the kashrus, it is important for the mashgichim and rabbonim to enjoy a measure of independence, as one would expect from a strictly kosher plant. This too, when observed properly, will have an enormous positive impact on kashrus, which must constantly strive to upgrade standards. Sure, there is no perfect world and the consumer recognizes that, but at the same time the average customer expects constant efforts to assure that kosher is as near perfect as possible. In fact, in kashrus the customer has come to expect a perfect world, and as far as I am concerned, that’s perfect!

{KosherToday/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. We owe it to the kosher consumer

    We in the field of Kashrus have accepted a fiduciary responsibility on behalf of the kosher consumer. Therefore, we owe our fidelity to the kosher consumer to uphold and maintain that fiduciary responsibility.

    Executives who face troubling decisions are often confused about how to arrive at the right, moral and ethical course of action. This is not surprising since by definition a “moral dilemma” is one where there is no clear right and wrong, only positives and negatives.

    We should be guided in our moral reasoning by the insight that comes from respecting the moral rights of the kosher consumer; justice to colleagues and peers; consequences and outcomes; explaining and defending to others as well as to ourselves the decisions we make.

    Have I searched for all alternatives? Are there other ways I could look at the situation? Have I listened and considered all points of view of my colleagues and peers, while still maintaining high ethical standards?

    Even if there is sound rationality for this decision, and even if I could defend it publicly, does my inner sense tell me this is right? Will my colleagues, peers, and the educated kosher consumer agree with my rationality?

    Does this decision agree with my religious beliefs and with my personal principles and sense of responsibility to the kosher consumer? Would I want others in kashrus to make the same decision and to take the same action if faced with the same circumstances?

    What are my true motives for this action? Would this action infringe on the moral rights and dignity of others? Would this action involve deceiving others in any way? Would I feel this action was just (ethical or fair) if I were on the other side of the decision? Am I being unduly influenced by others who may not be as sensitive to these ethical standards?

    How would I feel (or how will I feel) if (or when) this action becomes known to the educated

    Kosher consumer? Would others feel that my action or decision is ethically and morally justifiable to the educated kosher consumer? Can I justify my action as directly beneficial to the kosher consumer and to kashrus in general?

    We can stretch and expand our moral reasoning and ethical judgment, and sharpen our ethical sensitivity and moral awareness by thinking through particular dilemmas in light of the above. If we consider all the questions discussed above with real intent and pure motives, then we can be confident that we will come with G-D’s help, to sound and ethical decisions.

    When we achieve clarity as to the issues of the dilemma, we are better prepared to make a decision that is both right and defensible. We must remember that our goal is to achieve an ethical course of action in all areas of kashrus, not to find a way to construct a rational argument in support of an unethical decision.

    Our daily decisions do (at times indirectly) impact the kosher consumer. We live in a world where other concerns e.g. profits etc., often come into conflict with the concern for ethics and principles; and where society is demanding a higher standard of kashrus, and a higher ethic of social responsibility to the kosher consumer.

    We must be willing and able to give the kosher consumer in fact, that which the kosher consumer believes he / she is getting in theory.

    We owe it to ourselves…..we are all “kosher-consumers”.

    Yudel Shain
    Kosher Consumers Union