(photo credit: Courtesy)
The battle over the halachic validity of military conversions appears to be
approaching the kashrut industry, with the Chief Rabbinate warning the Badatz
Eda Haredit’s kashrut division recently of the consequences it would face if it
did not swiftly resolve irregularities found in a few of its
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According to the 1983 Prohibition of Deceit in Kashrut
Law, every establishment that sells, serves or produces food must have a kashrut
certificate from the Chief Rabbinate or a body empowered by it to provide one. A
business that wishes to have an additional kashrut certificate can do so only on
the condition that it also has the rabbinate certificate.
A recent letter
from the rabbinate’s kashrut division to the Badatz Eda Haredit – one of the
largest, most prestigious and most expensive kashrut certification bodies in the
market – noted that a few slaughterhouses recently inspected did not have the
Chief Rabbinate’s certificate. While this does not mean the food is not kosher,
the owners can be subject to a penalty by law.
The letter also warned
that if immediate measures were not taken, the rabbinate would instruct all of
the slaughterhouses’ customers to not purchase their products.
close to the kashrut industry claimed that the rabbinate’s kashrut division was
acting in the wake of the scathing criticism that Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo
Amar has been facing from the haredi- Ashkenazi rabbinic establishment,
following his and senior Sephardi adjudicator Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s recent
reaffirmation of the validity of military conversions.
The Eda Haredit is
apparently organizing a rally this Wednesday to protest the “kashrut
certificate” given to the IDF conversions, while elements close to Amar and
Yosef have been unsuccessfully attempting to deter the Eda Haredit leadership
from its plan.
The Chief Rabbinate’s kashrut division is under the
authority of Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger and not Amar, whose
responsibilities include heading the rabbinic courts and, as a result,
authorizing the conversions.
However, Rabbi Ya’acov Sabag, head of the
rabbinate’s kashrut division, told The Jerusalem Post
on Thursday that the
recent letter had absolutely nothing to do with the battle over the military
“We are constantly working and regulating the kashrut,
regardless of any issue at hand,” he said.
“There is a slaughterhouse
that issues goods without the certificate of the local kashrut, as required by
If it does not amend the irregularity, we will have to deal with
A representative of the Jerusalem-based Badatz Eda Haredit’s kashrut
department told the Post
that he did not know of any concrete complaints the
Chief Rabbinate might be investigating.
He also stressed that his
department’s certificates were only given to businesses that already had a
rabbinate certificate, and noted that its operation was transparent and “open to
“We welcome the rabbinate’s supervision, and are glad of any
additional supervision that will help the public keep kosher,” he said.