The AJN seems quite excited by the pitch of ORA to get itself appointed by the federal government to sanction Kashrut authorities. The paper has devoted the whole front page, a half page article and even an editorial to this topic. If we didn’t know better, we could get the impression that the focal purpose and objective of the Jewish News is to advance Kashrut in Australia. Yet this is the same publication that in its Simcha supplements advertises Treif caterers and establishments using the deceptive and fraudulent tags of “Kosher-style” and “Kosher-friendly”.
In fact in this same issue you will find this ¼ page colour advertisement for a Treif chicken shop! What a disgrace! What hypocrisy!
On the issue of ORA becoming the patron saint of Kashrut in this country, let me pass on some of the concerns that I have heard from other Shul-goers since the story broke.
1) What is the situation with smaller and newer Kashrut providers, eg, Rabbi Shalom Silberberg of Sydney Adass and Rabbi Meir Rabi of Kosher veYosher? Will ORA object to their supervision?
2) Who in ORA will make decisions for approval or non-approval? Will it be rabbis who themselves have a vested and financial (direct or via salary) interest in Kashrut and thus maybe an aversion to new competitors? Or will they be ethical and ensure that no rabbi in involved in Kashrut gets involved? And if so, will the qualifications of any new applicant be left in the hands of ORA members who have no idea or experience in Kashrut matters? Yes, I realise it is a real pickle.
3) Is it a good idea to get the government involved? Didn’t this happen in some states of the US with quite negative results? Do we really want them looking over our shoulders? How will the Kosher consumer benefit from all this?
4) Did ORA in their submission demand that fraudulent terms like “Kosher-style” and “Kosher-friendly” be proscribed? (And if so does the AJN know about this?) If not, why not?
5) Where can we read the entire submission by ORA? Why was there no public consultation with the main stakeholders, ie, Kosher consumers?
Many other questions are being asked and there is no shortage of criticism. A couple of local Jewish blogs have now joined the fray as you can read here and here.
On behalf of AJNWatch I invite our readers to comment on this matter and offer their ideas on the best way to go forward.
PS: Did anyone else notice the irony of that AJN front page being shared by an advertisement for an establishment under the supervision of non-ORA member, Rabbi Meir Rabi?