Thursday, June 28, 2007

When Church and State mix

From the ever useful Religion Clause comes an account of some schools in England who are trying to supply halal meat to their Muslim students:

Two local Councils in Britain find themselves in the middle of a dispute in the Islamic community over which bodies are the appropriate certifiers of Halal meat. Schools in the localities have halal meat on their lunch menus, but have recently changed their meat supplier.

This Is Lancashire yesterday reported that the Lancashire Council of Mosques has urged parents to have their children select vegetarian options or take their own lunches until the controversy is resolved. The new supplier gets its meat from New Zealand, and the meat is certified by the non-profit Halal Food Authority.

Salim Mulla, secretary of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, says they want the meat certified instead by the Halal Monitoring Committee. Lancashire County Council has replaced meat with an alternative option until the situation is resolved, while Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council is keeping halal meat on the menu, but is meeting with mosque council leaders to resolve any problems.

Couldn't you just see this happening if US public schools tried to supply kosher lunches? You just know they'd buy Hebrew National and other Triangle K products, along with Tablet K cheese. And then the board would be so bewildered at the outrage ....


Orthonomics said...

It is bewildering! And personally I'd like a darn good explaination why I can't get the affordable Tablet K cheese options. Drives me batty.

At least Half Moon K is acceptable now according to my authorities.

Larry Lennhoff said...

As I understand it (and this has not been verified by me) one reason is that the Rabbi who runs the tablet k does not hold by the stringent opinion of the shach but rather follows the lenient opinion of the Rema. In the 20th century the generally accepted Orthodox practice went the other way, while C followed the Rema and the extended the logic of Rav Feinstein regarding chalav stam to cheese.

From the referenced article:
This dispute has a major impact regarding the level of supervision required for the cheese making process. According to the Rama occasional inspections suffice, because the Gemara (Chullin 4a) states that “Yotzei Vinichnas Kiomeid Al Gabav Dami”, spot checks are the equivalent of constantly supervising a procedure. However, according to the Shach, a Mashgiach must be available on location to participate in the cheese making process. This explains why it is impractical for a large general company to have its cheeses certified kosher. This is why kosher cheeses are made by companies that produce cheese specifically for the observant Jewish community.

Orthonomics said...

Scanned the article and I just find it interesting that Ashkenazim have gone against the Rema in this regard, but not particularly in regards to Pot Yisrael.

Kosher cheese is very prohibitive in cost and largely unavailable outside of frum areas. It is probably a bigger sore point for me than the price of meat.

Larry Lennhoff said...

I also regret the decision to follow the strict decision of the Shach. I suspect without evidence that the fact that the C movement was meikel on cheese had some influence, but I'd have to do some research to figure out which actually happened first.

I'd feel more confident in this assertion if the Israelis were more lenient in this regard, as they were with gelatin. I doubt the question tended to come up, since gevinat akum wouldn't be an issue in Israel.

Orthonomics said...

I think the research would prove interesting. I remember a learned person telling me he was convinced the C Movement had a valid teshuvah on cheese, but had to accept the Orthodox position.