Tav haYosher Articles


 

Lee, Hannah. “Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz and Food Justice.” Philadelphia Jewish Voice. 21 April 2013.

“The first incidence of food justice occurred in the Garden of Eden,” said Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, “when Adam and Eve chose to defy divine prohibition and ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This moral consciousness formed the basis of Jewish ethical system and it was a matter of food choice.”

Yanklowitz spoke on April 15 at a symposium titled “How Kosher is Kosher?,” as part of the “What Is Your Food Worth” series, hosted at Temple University and coordinated by its Feinstein Center for American Jewish History.Read More…


Strauss, Jason. “Why We Need the Tav HaYosher.” T
he Times of Israel. 2 December 2012.

It was a hot July day and my friend and I were exhausted. As Uri L’Tzedek volunteers we had spent hours traveling around Manhattan to tell kosher restaurants about the Tav HaYosher. As the afternoon sun beat down on us, we stepped into a small, kosher fast-food restaurant. We explained the Tav HaYosher, Uri L’Tzedek’s ethical seal, to the manager. The Tav HaYosher is awarded to food establishments and caterers that pay at least the minimum wage, pay overtime to employees who work more than 40 hours per week, and maintain a workplace that respects the legal rights of their employees. Read More…

 

Berkman, Seth. “After Scandal, Slow Start for Ethical Certification.” Jewish Daily Forward. 3 October 2012.

Magen Tzedek, the kosher ethics certification program launched four years ago, has yet to certify its first food producer.

In fact, Rabbi Morris Allen, the group’s program director, told the Forward that independent auditors only completed their initial audit of the project’s first potential candidate to receive the Magen Tzedek seal in August. And even that process is now stalled. Read More…

 

Fried, Heshy. “We Must Stop Tav HaYosher and its Evil Left Wing Agenda!” Frum Satire. 11 July 2012.

It doesn’t take a genius to see the evil doings of leftist, supposedly orthodox Jews. They try to twist Torah and Halacha to support their mostly liberal agendas and rarely do anything to benefit the Torah observant community. Read More…

 

Lopatin, Asher. “Orthodox Social Justice: Kudos to the Tav HaYosher. Jewish Journal. 8 May 2012.

The Orthodox Social Justice organization, Uri L’Tzedek has been in the news recently regarding a settlement they helped win from a Jewish company accused of mistreating its workers and forcing them, against the law, to work 70-80 weeks. I was not part of the lawsuit so I would like highlight a program of Uri L’Tzedek which I am involved in: Tav HaYosher – the “Ethical Seal”. I would especially like to point out its Torah true roots and how it is integral to the Orthodox world of halacha and practice. Read More…

 

Lowenfeld, Jonah. “Orthodox Group’s Ethical Seal Gains Ground.” Jewish Journal. 18 April 2012.

Before Gilberto Escobar, the head baker at Bibi’s Bakery and Cafe, starts preparing the pita, cinnamon rolls, challah or anything else that comes out of the kosher bakery’s ovens, first he has to get through what he called the hardest part of his job.

“Levantarme” (getting up), Escobar said. Read More…

 

Wilensky, David. “Tav HaYosher Celebrates 100th Certified Restaurant.” The Jew and the Carrot. 21 March 2012.

This event is dedicated to a woman named Inez,” said Rabbi Ari Hart, one of the co-founders of Uri L’Tzedek, a Modern Orthodox organization that promotes social justice. Their signature program is the Tav HaYosher(Ethical Seal), a certification program for kosher restaurants that meet basic criteria for ethical treatment of their labor. Hart was speaking Sunday night to a packed house in a basement auditorium at the JCC of Manhattan, the setting for “FesTAVal,” a celebration of the recent addition of the 100th Tav-certified restaurant. Read more

 

Fruchter, Dasi. “Justice on My Plate.” YU Beacon. 19 March 2012.

I vividly remember learning the specific brachot (blessings) for food in my Modern Orthodox upbringing: I can still see the flashcards decorated with colorful pictures of all types of food, from shiny challot to crunchy bowls of cereal. We had to guess which bracha matched which food, and being the proud winner of the Bracha Bee was the high point of anyone’s school year. At home, this ritual-a meditation thanking God for our food before eating-was even further emphasized. I always admired my mother as she closed her eyes and with great intention said a blessing over a beautiful, steaming plate of food. Read More…

 

“Four Local Kosher Spots Win Ethical Seal.” JWeekly.com. 08 March 2012.

Uri L’Tzedek, the national Orthodox social justice organization, has awarded the Tav HaYosher (Hebrew for ethical seal) to four Bay Area kosher establishments: 12 Tribes Kosher Catering, located in the JCC of San Francisco; Amba, a vegetarian restaurant in Oakland; Grand Bakery in Oakland; and Oakland Kosher Foods.Read More…

 

Rumpf, Laura. “Meet a Rabbi Chef’s Apprentice!” The Jew and the Carrot. 16 February 2012.

A chance encounter last summer in the produce section of the vegetarian co-op Rainbow Grocery proved to be the catalyst for a rich culinary mentorship blossoming at 12 Tribes, a Bay Area kosher catering operation headed up by the legendary ‘Rabbi Chef’ Becky Joseph.

 

Sylvester, Gideon. “Adding Ethics to the Jewish Laws of Kashrut.” Haaertz. 11 January 2012.

Is belly dancing kosher? How about New Year’s Eve parties? For years, the Israeli rabbinate has waged wars against such activities, revoking the kashrut licenses of hotels and restaurants that offered them. This enrages those who feel that kashrut authorities should limit themselves to certifying food; others admire the holistic approach, which indicates that both the food and the ambience strictly conform to Jewish tradition. Read More…

 

Fruchter, Dasi. “Justice To My Plate.” Ritualwell. 8 November 2011.

I vividly remember learning the specific brakhot (blessings) for food in my Modern Orthodox upbringing: I can still see the flashcards decorated with colorful pictures of all types of food, from shiny hallot to crunchy bowls of cereal. We had to guess which brakha matched which food, and to be the proud winner of the Brakha Bee was the high point of anyone’s school year. At home this ritual-a meditation thanking God for our food before eating-was even further emphasized. I always admired my mother as she closed her eyes and with great intention said a blessing over a beautiful, steaming plate of food. Read More…

 

Ghert-Zand, Renee. “Keeping Kosher During the Food Stamp Challenge.” The Jew and the Carrot. 10 November 2011.

It was after Rabbi Ari Weiss bumped into and spoke with Rabbi Steve Gutow of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs on Rosh Hashanah, that he decided to take the Food Stamp Challenge. This means he would have to get by on no more than $31.50 worth of groceries (the average amount of food stamps granted to a qualifying individual) for an entire week. That’s just $1.50 per meal, without snacks. He knew it wouldn’t be easy, especially since he keeps strictly kosher. Read More…

 

Farkas, Rabbi Noah Zvi. “Between Forkfuls, Let’s be Food Thoughtful – And Kosher.” Jweekly.com. 27 October 2011.

From the moment we broke our fast at the end of Yom Kippur through Sukkot, we ate ourselves silly. One could easily surmise from all this gastronomical activity that we mark such an auspicious time of year not through our words or reflections, but through our stomachs. Read More…

 

Schumer, Nathan. “Can Food Justice Be As Simple As A Label?” The Jewish Daily Forward Blog: The Jew and the Carrot. 26 October 2011.

During the month of High Holidays, I rediscovered my Jewish conscience. Not in a big, showy way, but in an “oh this is what this is all about moment.” I was raised on a sort of ‘hallmark Judaism’, which tamed the most radical statements of equality and justice in our tradition. In my suburban synagogue, “justice, justice, you shall pursue,” became “be nice and stand up for your friends.” But that’s definitely not all that it means; it’s a much bigger call to action. It’s a challenge, an order, and the unrelenting, unapologetic demand that we must make this world better for others. Read more…

 

Raskin, Hannah. “Ethical Seal Reaches Washington.” Seattle Weekly. 26 August 2011.

Leah’s Catering has been serving kosher kugels and cakes since 1997, but the Seattle company only recently earned its Tav HaYosher certification.

With its receipt of the “ethical seal” this month, Leah’s Catering became the first kosher food-service establishment in Washington recognized for upholding workers’ rights. Read more…

 

Herzfeld, Rabbi Shmuel. “Kosher is About More Than the Food.” The Washington Post. 16 July 2011.

An amazing kosher revolution is occurring within the District’s Orthodox Jewish community.

When I came to the District seven years ago, Orthodox Jews spoke about kosher food only in a pragmatic and prosaic context. They might wonder if a specific restaurant strictly followed the kosher dietary laws, assuring there were no forbidden foods, such as pork or shellfish, and that meat and milk products were not mixed. People also frequently complained that there weren’t enough good kosher options in the nation’s capital. Read more…

 

Schwatz, Elizabeth. “New Kid on the Block Focuses Orthodox on Social Justice.” The Jewish Review. 20 May 2011.

Social justice is a core part of Judaism. It is a central tenet of biblical and talmudic teachings and, for many Jews, the primary means by which they engage with their Jewishness.

While social activism is most often associated with the liberal, progressive strands of organized Judaism, particularly the Reform, Reconstructionist, Humanist and Renewal movements, now there’s a new social activism kid on the block: Uri L’Tzedek, the first Orthodox Jewish social justice organization. Read more...


Bazak, Colleen. “Where Food Comes From, Where It Should.” The Boiling Point. 14 March 2011.

Hunger, food safety and Jewish laws regarding food ethics were the subject when Town Hall was turned into an assembly Feb. 17. Experts from three Jewish organizations came to bring awareness to students in hopes that Shalhevet would take an active role in their programs.

Spokesmen for Mazon, Hazon and Uri L’tzedek answered questions, and Shalhevet alumna Amanda Gelb ’05, who is Uri L’tzedek’s Los Angeles director of community education, organized and moderated the program. Read more…

 

Greenberg, Richard. “Consistently ‘kosher’ Group Evaulates Ethics, Not Just Cuts of Meat.” Washington Jewish Week. 02 February 2011.

More than a dozen food establishments in the Washington area are now certified “kosher” in more ways than one.

They are recipients of the Tav HaYosher, or ethical seal of approval, which is awarded to kosher-keeping businesses that also comply with minimum statutory standards for treating their employees fairly.

The certifications were issued by New York-based Uri L’Tzedek, an Orthodox social-justice organization that was formed in 2009 following the scandal at the Agriprocessors kosher meat processing plant in Iowa that involved a range of illegal practices including alleged violations of labor laws. Read more…Or

 

Pevtzow, Lisa. “Serving God, Workers and Hungry Customers.” The Chicago Tribune. 02 February 2011.

At Taboun Grill in Skokie, the Sunday dinner hour is controlled chaos. A cashier is ringing up checks with one hand and handing over takeout orders with the other. The wait staff rushes around delivering orders to packed tables. Behind a counter, flames flare up as a cook throws skewers of meat and vegetables on the grill.

The work can be hard, but the employees know they will be treated well. Taboun is one of six Kosher restaurants and catering companies in the Chicago area that have been awarded the Tav HaYosher (Hebrew for ethical seal), certifying that they treat their workers fairly. Read more…

 

Joseph, Rebecca. “Fit to Eat? Shifting Paradigms of Kashrut. The Jewish Daily Forward. 27 December 2010.

According to “lexical supermaven” Sol Steinmetz, who passed away this fall, “kosher” ranks first among the ten most frequently used words Jews have given to American English.* An adjective originally meaning “fit to eat” according to the Jewish dietary laws, its slang uses have come to describe almost anything – from a person to an offer – that is genuine, reliable or legal. Similarly, something that’s “not kosher” could be not nice, but also unsavory or illegal. Read more…

 

Schwarz, Sid. “Food Fight: A Kol Nidre Call for Sustainable Consumption.” The Huffington Post. 23 September 2010.

More examples: More than two decades ago the Reconstructionist movement began talking about Eco-Kashrut, suggesting that what made food kosher was not just about eating permissible foods prepared in the right way but taking into consideration the environmental impact of the food as well. The Conservative movement of Judaism recently approved a new form of oversight for food establishments called Magen Tzedek, a “justice seal” which will certify food companies only if they are meeting appropriate standards for wages and benefits for their employees and are abiding by stringent standards for ecological sustainability in their business practices. An Orthodox group has begun yet another campaign in several U.S. cities called Tav haYosher, an “ethical seal” which will signal to Jews that restaurants are paying their employees fairly. Read more…

 

Lipowsky, Josh. “Kosher Restaurants Put Ethical Standards on the Menu.” New Jersey Jewish Standard. 18 June 2010.

Kosher diners are starting to think about what goes on behind the counters where they eat, according to the Orthodox ethics organization Uri L’Tzedek. Three Bergen County restaurants have thus far signed up for the organization’s year-old ethical kashrut seal and a fourth will be announced later this month.

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, then a student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in Riverdale, N.Y., founded Uri L’Tzedek as a response to the 2008 immigration raid at the Agriprocessors kosher meat plant in Iowa. The organization unveiled the Tav HaYosher – the honesty certificate – last year to reward businesses that recognize what its Website refers to as “The right to fair pay. The right to fair time. The right to a safe work environment.” Read more…

 

Oppenheim, Rivka. “Ethical Seal Nearing Marketplace for Conservative Jews.” The Jewish Week. 25 May 2010.

Asked about expanding the Tav HaYosher to other areas besides food, Yanklowitz said that conversation is premature, and that there is a “danger of overextending.”

“We really need a serious victory on creating social change in kashrut first,” he said.

The measure of that victory? When “those that are not complying will need to comply in order to stay afloat.” Already, he said, “multiple owners have told me they’ve gotten thousands of dollars more business because of the Tav.” Read more…

 

Berger, Paul. “Meat-plant boss Rubashkin faces life after kosher fraud.” The Jewish Chronicle Online. 29 April 2010.

In the Orthodox world, the social justice group Uri L’Tzedek recently launched its Tav HaYosher seal, awarded to kosher restaurants that provide employees with a fair wage and working conditions. “The immigration raid at Agriprocessors is going to be pointed to throughout Jewish history as a major turning point of awareness and the birth of social activism in kosher food consciousness,” said Uri L’Tzedek founder and president Shmuly Yanklowitz. Read more…


Leibel, Aaron. “Md. Hillel eateries get ethical seal.” Washington Jewish Week. 28 April 2010.

Two kosher eateries run by the University of Maryland Hillel — Bobb’s Cafe and Sabra Deli — have been awarded the Tav Hayosher (ethical seal) by Uri L’Tzedek, a group that pursues social justice. Read more…


Charney, Jane. “Ethical seal for kosher restaurants lands in Chicago. ” JUF News. 1 April 2010.

Chicago native Shmuly Yanklowitz wants to encourage kosher restaurant owners to think about another dimension to the way they make and serve food. Yanklowitz and the organization he co-founded, Uri L’Tzedek (“awaken to justice” in Hebrew)…main concern is workers’ rights in kosher establishments. The cooks and servers who make the kosher food deserve to have their rights protected, said Yanklowitz, a rabbinical student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in New York. These rights ? air pay, fair time and a safe work environment ? are at the center of the Tav HaYosher (“ethical seal”) program Yanklowitz helped develop. Read more…

 

Jacobs, Justin. “Ethical kosher seal comes to Pa., but will it catch on?” The Jewish Chronicle. 11 March 2010.

The newest addition is a Tav HaYosher certificate, declaring Max and David’s kosher. But anyone reading the sign outside knows that; the Tav HaYosher, rather, deems the restaurant ethically kosher. The certification, created by Orthodox social justice organization Uri L’Tzedek, aims to ensure customers that restaurants are kosher both in food preparation and the humane and fair treatment of their employees. Read more…

 

Beckerman, Gal. “New Restaurant Seal Meets With Approval.” The Forward. 10 March 2010

Tav HaYosher has been one of Uri L’Tzedek’s most successful programs. According to the owners of a few Manhattan kosher establishments who spoke to the Forward, the seal has gotten them business and been a draw for customers aware of the importance of ethical work standards. The number of certified restaurants has also increased. Started less than a year ago, the Tav HaYosher is now displayed in three dozen establishments in five different states, with four more restaurants in the works. Read more…

 

Kaiser, Menachem. “Ethical Eating, the Newest Kosher Pickle.” The Atlantic. O3 March 2010.

Uri L’Tzedek, a social justice organization, founded the Tav HaYosher, a seal given to local eating establishments that do nothing more than abide by federal labor laws: fair pay, fair time, and a safe working environment. Read more…

 

Lipowsky, Josh. “Orthodox rabbis address the ethics of kashrut.” New Jersey Jewish Standard. 05 February 2010.

“There is a renewed movement in the Jewish world that we should take the values we learn about and espouse in our holy books and make sure our own lives uphold those values,” said Rabbi James Kahn, Hillel’s senior Jewish educator who worked with students to get the certification.

“The Jewish community, which cares so much about the food we eat, should also care about the people who serve us,” he said. Read more…

The ethical side of the kashrut industry has been under a microscope in the wake of the 2008 immigration raid at the Agriprocessors plant, which led to a fraud conviction for the company’s former CEO. Now, a task force within the Rabbinical Council of America has issued its Jewish Principles and Ethical Guidelines to “promote and safeguard ethical corporate policies and behavior, and encourage socially responsible activities in kosher food production,” according to the organization. Read more…

Beckerman, Gal. “Obey Civil Law, Say New Orthodox Kosher Rules.” The Forward. 27 January 2010.

The crimes that brought down the Agriprocessors kosher meat company and could put its owner, Sholom Rubashkin, in jail for life, still reverberate. An echo was heard in the Rabbinical Council of America’s January 21 announcement establishing a set of ethical guidelines for how agencies supervising kosher food production should behave beyond ensuring that the laws of kashrut are observed. Read more…

 

Wiener, Julie. “Orthodox Group Pushing Ethical Kosher Guidelines.” The Jewish Week. 26 January 2010.

A few months after the Conservative movement unveiled a first draft of its “Magen Tzedek” standards for evaluating whether kosher food companies comply with Jewish ethical teachings, a centrist Orthodox group has issued its own “principles and ethical guidelines” for the kosher food industry.
Read more…

 

Pelcovitz, Aryeh. “The First Six Months of Tav HaYosher.” The Jew and The Carrot. 17 December 2009.

In July of 2009, Uri L’Tzedek began a small project in New York to change the way the (Orthodox / Jewish) community approached its food. Modeled after Israel’s Tav Chevrati, the Tav Hayosher, ethical seal, would certify that a kosher eating establishment was meeting legal and ethical standards in the way it treats its employees. Uri L’Tzedek granted the Tav to kosher restaurants and supermarkets after confirming that their employees were paid at least minimum wage, overtime, were granted appropriate breaks, and work in a healthy and safe environment. Read more…

 

Hausman, Aliza. “A Guiding Light.” Jerusalem Post. 19 May 2009.

Ari Hart was supposed to be at a regular Shabbat meal. Plenty of wine and halla was going around. It was one of his first meals with other 20-something singles in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood. But the atmosphere quickly changed. “People were saying racist things about ‘the Puerto Ricans’ in the neighborhood. I was like, oh man, they’re not even Puerto Rican!” Hart said. Read More…

Shapiro, Samantha M. “Kosher Wars.” The New York Times Magazine. 9 October 2008.

“One sunny day in late August, Andy Kastner made the short drive from his apartment in Riverdale, in the Bronx, to Yonkers First Live Poultry Market, a narrow cinder-block shop that sells live chickens, pigeons, quail and rabbits stacked in ancient-looking metal cages.” Read more…

 

Fishkoff, Sue. “Orthodox Groups to Offer Ethical Seals for Businesses.” JTA. 15 December 2008.

“Not to be outdone by their Conservative colleagues, Orthodox groups on both coasts will soon be vetting the ethical standards of businesses serving the Jewish communities.” Read more…

 

Kornblit, Michelle. “The ‘Kosher’ Workplace.” Women’s Rights Employment Law Blog. 16 December 2008.

“In light of the shocking revelations of the unethical, and illegal employment practices at the Agriprocessor Kosher slaughterhouse in Postville Iowa, there has been a demand in the Orthodox Jewish community to insist that kosher food production must be about more than the dietary laws; kosher food must reflect Jewish ethical values through a greater accountability on the part of the kosher industry to ensure legal and ethical employment conditions.” Read more…

 

Cole, Diane. “Beyond Agriprocessor.” The Jewish Week. 1 April 2009.

“Last year, Rubashkin – the name of the family that owned and ran Agriprocessors, the country’s largest kosher meatpacking plant – became synonymous with scandal. In May 2008, U.S. immigration officials raided the plant, arresting 389 illegal aliens employed there, and company owners were charged on numerous counts of violating child labor and immigration laws.” Read more…

 

Schneider, Paulette. “Kosher Restaurants Urged to Seek ‘Ethical’ Seal.” The Riverdale Review. 2 April 2009.

“Riverdale’s kosher restaurants now have an opportunity to show customers that they meet the highest standards not only of ‘kashrut’- the technical kosherness of food products according to Jewish law-but also of fair labor practices, another Jewish legal mandate.” Read more…

 

“After Postville: Keeping Kosher by Caring for Others.” The Chicago Tribune. 12 May 2009.

“Separating meat and dairy products is a central dietary rule to keeping a kosher kitchen. But some Orthodox Jews say the Golden Rule is also a key to keeping kosher.” Read more…

 

Fishkoff, Sue. “N.Y. Food Establishments Earn New Ethics Seal.” JTA. 12 May 2009.

“One year after a massive immigration raid at the largest kosher meatpacking plant in the United States, an Orthodox social justice organization announced the first seven recipients of its seal of ethical business practice.”Read more…

 

Ramey, Corinne. “Orthodox Group Stirs Pot with New Kosher Ethics Seal.” The Forward. 13 May 2009.

“A new label just went up alongside the other colorful stickers and pamphlets adorning the window of Your Heights Cafe in northern Manhattan. It’s a seal with an image of clasped hands, and it was given out by a new organization looking to improve working conditions in New York’s kosher restaurants.” Read more…

 

Weiss, Ari; Ari Hart and Shmuly Yanklowitz. “Going on an Ethical Diet.” Haaretz. 18 May 2009.

“The American public has been shocked by the revelations of the past few months regarding the unethical treatment of workers at the Agriprocessors slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa. Court charges that allege illegal deductions from paychecks, the use of child labor and employees being robbed of their human dignity have prompted many in the Jewish community to demand that kosher food production must be about more than just the laws of kashrut; kosher food must reflect Jewish ethical values as well.” Read more…

 

Hausman, Aliza. “A Guiding Light.” Jerusalem Post. 19 May 2009.

“Ari Hart was supposed to be at a regular Shabbat meal. Plenty of wine and halla was going around. It was one of his first meals with other 20-something singles in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood. But the atmosphere quickly changed.” Read more…

 

Resnick, Elliot. “New Orthodox Seal Certifies Ethical Compliance.” The Jewish Press. 20 May 2009.

“Last week – exactly a year after allegations of exploitation and abuse at the Agriprocessors kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa made national headlines – Uri L’Tzedek, an Orthodox social justice movement, announced the creation of Tav HaYosher, a new ethical seal for kosher restaurants.” Read more…

 

Orbach, Michael. “Kosher and then Some.” The Jewish Star. 22 May 2009.

“At Cafe Nana, a quaint, privately owned restaurant in the Columbia University Hillel, a new type of certification adorns the wall. Unlike the eatery’s hechsher, which certifies that the food being prepared is strictly kosher, this one, known as the Tav HaYosher, ensures something entirely different, best explained in the words of Alex, a Mexican immigrant who works in the kitchen: “It’s good,” he said. “They come here and ask how much [I get] paid.” Read more…