Kosher Clothing Stores?
Rabbi Eliyahu Schlesinger told Radio Kol Hai the Jerusalem Rabbinate will be providing certificates of 'kashrut' to clothing stores in Israel's holiest city.
The goal of the initiative is to ensure the clothes sold do not contain shatnez - scripturally forbidden ( (Vayikra/Leviticus 19:19) mixtures of wool and linen (linsey-woolsey, linen thread used to sew a woolen garment, for example).
Rabbi Schlesinger said, "The goal is that every Jew coming to buy clothes will ask for a kosher certificate."
"Just as a [pious] person would not think to enter a restaurant that does not bear a kosher certificate, it is hoped they will also refuse to buy clothes without supervision," he said.
"When people buy a suit they have no idea where it came from," Schlesinger said. "Suits today come from China, Hong Kong and various parts of the world. But even if they come from a factory in Israel they should be monitored."
Rabbi Schlesinger added, "Importers frequently put stamps on clothes that they are shatnez free despite the fact that no official body endorses the claim. Checking the shops we found many such 'shatnez free' garments contained shatnez."
"The sages say, the prayers of those wearing a garment containing shatnez will not be received," he added.
Shatnez is one of the commandments called "chukim", whose rationale is not explained in the Torah, but since it is expressly forbidden in the biblical text, observant Jews are scrupulous about having garments that might contain the combination, such as men's woolen suits, sweaters and coats, checked by reliable shatnez laboratories, which can be found online.