Rabbis Hit Snag on Tags Issue in Poultry Ban
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Rabbis Hit Snag on Tags Issue in Poultry Ban

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The general assembly of rabbis last night voted prohibition of consumption of all poultry slaughtered in Greater New York not bearing the tags of rabbinical supervision.

A split in the Jewish rabbinate on the question of tagging chickens appeared yesterday at a general rabbinical conference called in the Hotel Pennsylvania to proclaim the long-threatened general ban on poultry.

The schism first developed at a meeting of a committee to amend the issuer, or prohibition. The session, held at the Broadway Central Hotel, lasted from 7 p. m. Sunday to 5 a. m. yesterday.

A small but determined group of Bronx rabbis unexpectedly reversed their stand and demanded that the provision for tagging chickens be stricken out of the text of the issur, which had been drawn up by a committee headed by Rabbi M. S. Margolies, dean of the New York rabbinate.

It was reported that Rabbi Israel Dushowitz, one of the moving spirits in the struggle for rabbinical supervision, collapsed at the committee meeting, crying; “The poultry isn’t kosher.” He appeared at yesterday’s meeting, pale and tearful, and refused to act as chairman.

“The Bronx clique is being subsidized by the market men,” charged Rabbi J. Idelson. None of the Bronx rabbis impugned were present yesterday, and rabbis expressed fears that the ban could not succeed without their support.

Rabbi Lieptman Levine declared he would “rather go begging for bread than supervise a market where chickens are not tagged.”

The “Bronx clique” was denounced as a minority “which is trying to dictate to the rabbinate of New York.”

Repeatedly speakers declared, “There must be 100 per cent Kashruth or nothing.”

Rabbis cited cases of the sale of non-kosher poultry as kosher, and pleaded, some sobbing, that the issur be proclaimed in its present form.


The position of the opposition was that strict supervision is sufficient, and plombes, or tags, an unnecessary expense.

“We will stay here all night and hear everyone who wants to speak,” said Rabbi Nachman Ebin, chairman of the Kashruth Association, opening the meeting. At a late hour yesterday no decision had been reached.

The present draft of the issur prohibits “consumption of fowl unless such fowl has been killed in a slaughterhouse which is under effective supervision… and unless such birds bear each a token of Kashruth.”

In addition, the issur provides that pots in which chickens not conforming to the requirements are cooked themselves become non-kosher and may not be used for other cooking.

Shochtim who slaughter in violation of the issur, the text states, are disqualified to act as shochtim.

Questioned with regard to the threat of the rabbinate to proclaim an issur against live poultry, Leroy Peterson, supervisor of the NRA live poultry code, yesterday declared that “the whole matter of rabbinical supervision should be worked out between the industry and the rabbonim.”

Speaking for the code authorities, he said: “We feel that there ought to be rabbinical supervision in the industry.”

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