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Dep. Minister Calls for Unified Standards in Kashrut

Rabbi Ben-Dahan in meeting with OU decries lack of unified standards in Jewish dietary laws, calls for enforcing chief rabbinate standards.
By Chezki Ezra, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 11/20/2013, 12:42 AM

Deputy Minister Eli Ben-Dahan with OU Management
Deputy Minister Eli Ben-Dahan with OU Management
Courtesy Photo

Deputy Minister of Religious Services Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Jewish Home/Bayit Yehudi) on Tuesday, during a meeting with Orthodox Union (OU) rabbis, called for the enforcement of unified standards of kashrut (Jewish dietary laws) to be determined by the chief rabbinate.

At the meeting, which took place at OU offices in New York, Ben-Dahan warned that "if we are unable to create a unified standard between the municipal rabbis in Israel, we will lose the 'consumers of Judaism' in Israel."

Currently the local rabbinate's supervision of a unified standard in the field of kashrut, as in the field of marriage licensing, is almost unenforced and is in need of a change, according to Ben-Dahan.

The statements come after last Thursday Ben-Dahan called orthodox Judaism the widest common denominator among Jews in Israel, warning that a change in that status could divide the nation.

In promoting unity, Ben-Dahan called for shared criterion stipulated by the chief rabbinate. He said in talks with the chief rabbis he has promised to help in supervising this issue.

There have been signs of increased chief rabbinate supervision of kashrut. In August Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau made a surprise 2:00 a.m. visit to a fruit and vegetable market to inspect that the standards of kashrut were being met.

Following the meeting Avi Berman, the Director General of OU in Israel, said, "I see a great resemblance between Deputy Minister Ben-Dahan's approach and the OU's approach. I am happy to see that Rabbi Ben-Dahan is leading an approach of technological and social innovation, and everything is done with a smile."

In August, during an aliyah event in Jerusalem, Berman told Arutz Sheva that "the OU is a not for profit organization that gives all the money back to the Jewish people," adding that "at the end of the day, what keeps us alive here in Eretz Yisrael is all based on Torah."