JTA just published my story on yesterday’s raid at Agriprocessors, which the Feds are calling the largest such operation in American history. The plant, the country’s largest kosher slaughterhouse, was back in business today without the 390 of its employees detained on immigration violations. Criminal charges are expected to follow.
The Des Moines Register has been all over this story. Click here for their full coverage, including links to video and photos.
UPDATE: Members of the Conservative movement’s Hekhsher Tzedek Commission have just weighed in.
We, the members of the Hekhsher Tzedek Commission, condemn the corrupt practices of Agriprocessors which resulted in a raid by government agents. The actions of this company have brought shame upon the entire Jewish community. Yesterday’s discovery, along with the other violations of the ethical standards set forth by our Torah and our tradition underscore the need for Hekhsher Tzedek. To be sure, Halacha has never limited its concern to the ritual elements of Kashrut alone.
The Hekhsher Tzedek seal will ensure that no one in the Jewish community will turn a blind eye toward the treatment of workers, the impact that the production of kosher food might have on the environment, the welfare of the animals during the shehitah process, and the integrity of the company producing our food. The HT seal will assure the Kosher consumer that products that they purchase reflect the highest standards of Kashrut on both the ritual and ethical level.
The alarm in Postville has sounded once again. It is our hope that the entire Jewish community will accept the need for change and will join us in this sacred effort. Kashrut should always symbolize the best of our tradition not otherwise.