All is not Kosher in the Land of Oz

May 31, 2010 by J-Wire
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The Council of Progressive Rabbis of Australia, New Zealand and Asia have rejected a plan which would create a single authority to certificate Kosher goods.

The topic arose during their conference last week in Melbourne…

Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins

The rabbis reviewed the joint submission of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and Organisation of Rabbis of Australia which claimed to speak on behalf of all Australian Jewry regarding matters of kashrut.  While endorsing the importance of keeping kosher and the ability of the consumer to have the widest range of kosher products, the rabbis expressed concern that the proposed legislation would prevent the importing of certain kosher products from overseas and also inhibit the development of kosher labelling that would take into account environmental and justice issues in food production.  It could also set a dangerous precedent of the government regulating matters of Jewish practice.  The rabbis therefore rejected the idea that one authority should have a monopoly over the certification of kosher products through federal government legislation, and supported the current system of self regulation.

Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins of Sydney’s Emanuel Synagogue told J-Wire: “This matter is on the agenda to be discussed on Wednesday at the ECAJ quarterly meeting.”

They also discussed a range of issues from status and ritual to Israel and social justice concerns.  The rabbis acknowledged the centrality of Israel in the life of the Jewish people and affirmed their support for a two state solution allowing Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side with peace, justice and security.  In response to rising violence against Progressive and Conservative Jews in Israel and other potential human rights abuses, the rabbis made a donation to the Israel Religious Action Centre (In honour of Rabbi John Levi’s 50 years in the rabbinate) and to Rabbis for Human Rights, in memory of one of its founders, Rabbi David Forman.

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