Letter in Wall St. Journal

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Don’t Confuse What Kosher Means

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz is entitled to swear off meat if he chooses, but not to pass off his reasons for doing so as having anything to do with Orthodox Judaism.

June 5, 2014 12:20 p.m. ET
Shmuly Yanklowitz (“Why This Rabbi Is Swearing Off Kosher Meat,”┬áHouses of Worship, May 30) is entitled to swear off meat if he chooses, but not to pass off his reasons for doing so as having anything to do with Orthodox Judaism.Jewish religious law prohibits the infliction of avoidable pain on animals, and the vast majority of kosher slaughterhouses, overseen and inspected by both governmental agencies and rabbinic supervisors, are entirely sensitive to that law and its implications.

“Kosher,” however, has nothing to do with health or “ethics.” There are Jewish ethical laws and Jewish ritual laws. Kashrut is entirely in the latter category. And it is simply not “Orthodox” to contend otherwise.

Rabbi Avi Shafran

Agudath Israel of America

New York

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