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N.C. boarding school cafeteria gets ethical-kosher seal

NEW YORK (JTA) — A Jewish high school cafeteria in North Carolina became the first pre-collegiate institution to obtain an Orthodox social justice organization’s seal certifying its adherence to fair-labor practices.

The American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, which touts itself as the only international Jewish college prep boarding school, recently received Uri L’Tzedek’s Tav HaYosher, an “ethical” seal for kosher establishments.

The academy was the first pre-collegiate school to seek the seal in a program that was launched in 2009. The Tav HaYosher program certifies 86 establishments, mostly restaurants in New York City and Los Angeles.

Several campus-based kosher dining halls, including at Barnard-Columbia, Yale and Ohio State universities, have the Tav HaYosher seal. Others are in the pipeline.

Yael Keller, Uri L’Tzedek’s director of programming, told JTA that the boarding school initiated the certification process after one of its board members saw a Tav HaYosher sign in a restaurant window.

“Until American Hebrew Academy contacted us, I had not thought about Jewish day school as a possibility, largely because the Jewish day school I attended didn’t have a cafeteria,” Keller said, adding that day schools are now an area that Uri L’Tzedek hopes to explore further.

The program enlists volunteers to visit kosher eating establishments and interview their employees to ensure their employer is in compliance with state labor laws concerning pay, overtime and safety.

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