Keeping Our Traditions
Less Interference from Governing Authorities
Without competition to keep them sharp, Kashrut and other religious services have become lazy and careless. They're not pressed to improve, they remain unchallenged. Complaints by the public can be ignored without fear of challenge. There is no rod over their back. Only privatisation and competition can repair and provide a strong service (as is our common experience in all world affairs)
That is not to say that a governing body could not provide some value. A general regulatory authority that also verifies the integrity of those providing services would be of considerable benefit. The only question being who verifies the verifier, because a lot of power in the hands of a couple of people is a recipe for disaster. Work conditions of the Kashrut supervisors and their integrity could also be overseen and validated by a governing body.
However, the tried and best system is that which relies upon the consumers. It is not difficult to ask to see the Kosher supervisor, nor ask a couple of simple questions.. Yes, sometimes he will not be available, but when that is more often the case, consumers will quickly spread the word.
Wow - I guess Mom was pretty upset about that spoon
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, present company excluded of course"
This simple strategy is the greatest, most secure, cheapest and most effective for attaining transparency. It is also promotes consumer engagement and education about their Judaism. Restaurants thrive on the public feedback of their clients.
Kashrut approval may be provided by some, to firms which do not observe Shabbat, to foods that use gelatine or cochineal - and they will need to explain their position, whilst others may not certify such arrangements - and they will need to explain their position. Halacha is not a monolithic structure, it is varied and variegated - as is the Gemara from which it emerges. This is Jewish Life. This is how Gd planned it. This is our tradition and we are proud of it.
What we need is a framework that ensures there is no misrepresentation, deception or untruth. The standards of Kashrus and all its intricacies do not need to be and should not be standardised and dictated and imposed upon the public. Such interference runs contrary to the spirit, culture and heritage of our traditions.
The Supreme Court in Israel will decide on a request for an injunction by some restaurant owners in Jerusalem against the Chief Rabbinate. These restaurants were fined by the Chief Rabbinate for fraudulently promoting their businesses as Kosher. This is based upon the law that gives the Rabbinate exclusive control in Israel, over declaring who and what is Kosher.
These restaurants are actually Kosher certified but not within the Chief Rabbinate's network. Rabbi Aharon Leibowitz, is challenging the Chief Rabbinate over their exclusive rights to declare which establishments are Kosher. In fact, Rabbi Leibowitz has very carefully avoided breaking the law by not actually using the word "Kosher" in his certification, see link