Saturday, October 3, 2009

'Ecokosher' is finding a place at the table

'Ecokosher' is finding a place at the table
New dietary standards commit to treating workers, animals, and Earth with care.
By Dianna Marder
215-854-4211 or
Inquirer Staff Writer
Sun, Sep. 27, 2009 Link to full article below (this is an excerpt)

For centuries, rabbis have taught that the kitchen table is an altar.

By this they mean that drawing food from the Earth, preparing it for the table, and eating it is part of a covenant with God - an understanding that we must not defile the Earth or ourselves.

But a growing number of Jews are questioning whether the traditional Jewish dietary laws go far enough and are spawning a national, distinctly Jewish, food movement, with roots in Philadelphia, known as ecokosher.

"The kosher laws actually have nothing to do with sustainable agriculture, treating workers fairly, protecting the air and the water - any of that," says Robin Rifkin, a member of Kol Ami Congregation in Elkins Park. "And that's what we're concerned about."

A small but increasing number of Jews across the usual denominational lines of Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform are feeling an obligation to confront these ethical issues in a variety of ways.

And, in a revolutionary effort, like-minded Jews nationwide are launching a new uber-kosher symbol that could appear on food products as early as next year - a symbol of ethical responsibility demonstrating a manufacturer's commitment to treating workers, animals, and the Earth with care.

To read the full article:

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