OU to supervise slaughter in Israel

The new Orthodox Union ritual slaughter unit will restrict its operations to poultry.

slaughtered ox 224.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
slaughtered ox 224.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
For the first time, the Orthodox Union (OU) has expanded its kashrut supervision in Israel to include shekhting (ritual slaughter). All OU profits from shekht supervision will go to various charitable programs run by the OU in Israel, including several outreach organization that encourage secular Israelis to be more religious. The new OU unit will be called Fleisch (Yiddish for "meat") and will restrict its operations to poultry. "There are a lot of Americans in Israel who are familiar with the OU name and will feel comfortable buying chickens supervised by us," said Rabbi Yosef Minsky, a veteran kashrut supervisor who will be running Fleisch. With nearly a dozen different shekht supervisors, OU will be facing a lot of competition. Some of the biggest supervisors include Beit Yosef, Edah Haredit, Rabbi Landau, Agudah, and Belz, in addition to the various regional supervisor that operate under the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate. According to kashrut laws, private kashrut supervisors are allowed to operate only in places where there is already a chief rabbinate-run supervisor in place. However, the vast majority of the rapidly growing haredi public does not rely on the chief rabbinate's level of kashrut supervision and demands more stringencies. A manager of a prominent meat company who preferred remaining anonymous out of concern that his comments might hurt his relationship with the kashrut supervisors told The Jerusalem Post that many of the stringencies adopted by the private kashrut supervisors are unreasonable. "One kashrut supervisor will adopt a new stringency to set itself apart from the others as if to say 'look, I am more holy than they are,'" said the source. "I've seen five different supervisors examine one chicken's lungs and give five different reasons why it is trayf." "The impression I get from OU is that they are more reasonable. Instead of checking the lungs of every single chicken, they are willing to rely on a test sample." Until recently, OU's kashrut supervision in Israel was restricted to food products earmarked for export. However, in recent years OU has expanded its supervision to include restaurants and hotels. Shekht supervision is the latest initiative. OU's worldwide kashrut supervision operations fund a variety of programs in Israel including the Zula in Jerusalem, a clubhouse for children from religious homes who are experiencing psychological difficulties; Lev Yehudi, an organization based in the Tel Aviv area that disseminates Jewish teachings and thought to secular Israelis; Makom Belev, an organization that helps children from broken homes; and Oreita Pool Halls, a chain of outreach centers that use billiards to attract young men to Torah classes.