NEW YORK (JTA) – The Conservative movement’s ethical kashrut initiative received a $100,000 grant.
Organizers of the initiative, known as Hechsher Tzedek, hope to use the grant money from the Nathan Cummings Foundation to kick-start the project. Specifically they hope to award the hechsher, a certification identifying kosher foods as having been ethically produced, to at least three companies by September 2009 and at least 15 by the middle of 2010.
Hechsher Tzedek was spearheaded by Minnesota Rabbi Morris Allen largely in response to allegations that surfaced about the treatment of workers at the Agriprocessors kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa. The initiative aims to certify kosher food producers who meet certain criteria relating to their treatment of workers and environmental sensitivity, among other factors.
According to its mission statement, the Nathan Cummings Foundation seeks "to build a socially and economically just society that values nature and protects the ecological balance for future generations; promotes humane health care; and fosters arts and culture that enriches communities."