February 8, 2010

A Kosher Boycott in Israel that Has Nothing to do With Kashrus

Jerusalem…The ongoing boycott by many Orthodox Jews of Strauss Dairies has nothing to do with the kashrus of the products of one of the Israeli food giants. According to Idele Ross, the Bureau Chief of KosherToday in Israel, the boycott came after Strauss Dairies changed its stricter mehadrin kashrus supervision from that of Rabbi Moshe Yehuda Leib Landau, Chief Rabbi of Bnai Brak and respected authority on kashrus supervision to that of Rabbi Avraham Rubin whose 'Badatz Mehadrin' is said to be particularly prestigious. Charedi media, says Ross, are reporting that many groups believe the new arrangement is a serious affront to the stature and reputation of Rabbi Landau. Strauss Dairies said in a statement that the changes are being made because Rubin's certification is more convenient for them. Rabbi Rubin was the former kashrus administrator for the OU in Israel. The new supervision pertains to Strauss's new line of soft white cheeses being produced specifically to the stricter requirements of the mehadrin community, precisely the group that is now calling for a boycott of Strauss products. Apparently, says Idele Ross, many rabbis affiliated with the Gur and Chabad Chasidic movements were employed by Rabbi Landau. The religious daily Hamodia, associated with the Agudas Yisroel organization, published a statement from Rabbi Landau notifying the public of the Strauss decision. Strauss defended its new arrangement as something that was done with Rabbi Landau's consent.