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Attack New York State Kosher Laws

January 23, 1923
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First among the States to recognize the right of Jews to be protected in the observance of their dietary laws, New York, by measures passed in 1917 and 1922, made it a crime to expressly or impliedly represent as kosher, meant products which are in fact not prepared in accordance with orthodox requirements.

The attack upon the constitutionality of these laws has been launched by an association of provision manufacturers and dealers on the ground that what is kosher is so speculative a standard, that it is impossible of practicable application, that “kosher” has developed a secondary meaning of cleanliness which reflects unwarrantably on meats labeled non-kosher in accordance with the statute, and that the whole legislation is an illegal interference with interstate commerce.

Attorney General Carl Sherman has designated Samuel H. Hofstader, an attorney of New York City, member of the firm of Nordlinger and Riegelman, as Special Deputy Attorney General to defend the constitutionality of the measures.

“The real issue involved”, said Mr. Hofstadter, in discussing the controversy, “is not limited in importance to orthodox Jewry. The basic question is whether a s### which sanctions religious freedom may protect its citizens from exploitation by those who seek, through under-handed and indefensible practices, to take advantage of the religious observances of those citizens. It is inconceivable that any group would actually sanction the display of “trefa” products in such a manner that purchasers may be deliberately deceived and misled into believing them to be kosher”.

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