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Orthodox Rabbi Urges Congregants to Boycott Lettuce Picked by Non-union Workers

The associate rabbi of one of the nation’s largest Orthodox synagogues has urged his congregants to support the campaign by Cesar Chavez to organize lettuce workers in California by refusing to purchase any lettuce picked by non-union help. The appeal was made by Rabbi Haskell Lookstein of Kehillath Jeshurun congregation, who cited rabbinic sources for a description of products made by exploited workers as non-kosher. Writing in the congregation bulletin, Rabbi Lookstein mentioned the successful boycott of grapes picked in California which was a major factor in bringing about a contract for grape-pickers. Declaring it was possible to buy lettuce with a union label and that about 25 percent of the lettuce on the market is so labeled, he suggested that congregants ask for union-labeled lettuce, describing it as kosher lettuce.