The Left-Wing Movement to Hijack Kosher Food

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


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Uri L’Tzedek is a pale imitation of its true inspiration, Jewish Funds for Justice, and it is arguably nothing more than JFJ working the Orthodox side of the Jewish communal street. Uri L’Tzedek has coordinated events with Jewish Funds for Justice, its literature has featured JFJ content and its leading personnel are for the most part either veterans of Jewish Funds for Justice or the American Jewish World Service, another left-wing organization funded by George Soros. Uri L’Tzedek largely depends on grant money from the same foundations that fund these two groups. That raises the question of whether Uri L’Tzedek is anything but a front for JFJ and AJWS activism under an Orthodox brand.

George Soros’ own son sits on the board of Jewish Funds for Justice and funding for Uri L’Tzedek has come directly and indirectly from the Nathan Cummings Foundation, headed up by Lance E. Lindblom, the former Executive Vice President at the Open Society Institute, Soros’ own foundation. The Nathan Cummings Foundation had previously also funded a similar “ethical kosher” effort by Hekhsher Tzedek.

The various foundations are so deeply intertwined that tracking them becomes difficult. For example Uri L’Tzedek receives support from, among others, Bikkurim, the Joshua Venture Group, the American Jewish World Service and the Natan Fund. The Advisory Council of the Joshua Venture Group includes members of all these groups and the Nathan Cummings Foundation funds a number of them, including the Joshua Venture Group.

The Executive Director of Uri L’Tzedek, Ari Weiss, is also a fellow of the Joshua Venture Group, worked for the American Jewish World Service, and interned at Chicago community organizer outfit, ”We The People Media”, which received millions, from among others, the Open Society Institute. For all the incestuous twists and turns, the money trial goes back to a Nazi collaborator and his crusade against the Jewish people.

Shmuly Yanklowitz, the founder and president of Uri L’Tzedek, worked for Jewish Funds for Justice, and has held study sessions together with Rabbi Jill Jacobs, the Rabbi in Residence at Jewish Funds for Justice, who is a member of a number of radical Anti-Israel groups, including J Street’s Rabbinic Cabinet.

Yanklowitz is the product of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, a left-wing seminary, which has also received funds from the Nathan Cummings Foundation.  The YCT seminary is the wellspring of Uri L’Tzedek, granting rabbinical certification to community organizers, and has featured a “mandatory course in faith-based community organizing” taught by members of its faculty and “representatives of the Jewish Funds for Justice.” The flyer for that indoctrination program features mentions of both co-founders of Uri L’Tzedek, as well as a number of other personnel from the group.

The process is aimed at turning out community organizers to carry out the left’s social justice agenda. Frustrated at the limitations of its power over the traditional and conservative Orthodox Jewish community, the left has resorted to creating and equipping front groups to undermine it from within using Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. Those groups have been unable to organically gain leadership and are pursuing an aggressive power grab instead.

The true scripture of Uri L’Tzedek and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah is Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. The attempt to hijack Kosher food is a classic example of Rule 4 merging with Rule 11. As the “Tav HaYosher” sign goes up in the windows of formerly Kosher restaurants, its owners and those eating there should recognize what it truly represents.

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  • oldtimer

    What about halaal foods, are they after those too. I doubt it.

    • Tim Lieder

      Of course not. It's a KOSHER certification group. There is not one kosher certification group that cares about Halal foods because that's not the aim of a kosher certification group.

      Kosher certification means that the place only serves kosher food, adheres to kosher standards of cooking (meaning that Jews are in some way involved in the process) and allows for inspection of the facilities to make sure that these standards are maintained.

      The only variety that Uri L'Tzedek adds is to also certify that there is no worker exploitation as well.

      Asking if Uri L'tzedek deals with halal foods is as stupid as asking if the OU deals with halal foods.

    • danasmokey

      This guy is a Jewish Nazi. Like the rich jews in the Warsaw ghetto during WWII you would idly sit buy and watch the poor jews starve, while you stuffed your face in one of the few remaining restaurants. The poor will always out number the rich and most could care less about Kashrut.

  • Schlomotion

    You're funny. You find leftists in your matzos. Just a few fun facts: Kosher food is no safer and no better than normal food, it's just religiously ordained cult-approved food. A lot of it has nasty preservatives in it, but still conform to the Old Testament. Also, all these other people trying to have Kosher Food, like unions, vegans and people with "celiac disease" aren't trying to undermine your gefilte fish / cat food in a can. They just want to be like you. They want to be from a special caste of people than can only eat approved food, because they like throwing off a dinner party by announcing that a special menu has to be prepared so that they can march loftily out of step with the world. Never do these people bring their own food in a knapsack. Anyway none of them are stopping you from shuffling through your grocery store ghetto enclave and making Alan Greenspan faces at the symbols on boxes of Tam Tams.

    • stern

      Gee, you really do have a penchant for missing the point, don't you? An Orthodox Jew knows which Kosher symbols are valid and which are not. For a left wing group to use the whole notion of Kosher in order to blackmail others who disagree with them politically is just kinda stinky, though, don't you think? Nah, you don't think.

      • Schlomotion

        No. I don't give a crap about special icons placed on foodstuffs or the wars that Jews want to have over them. No sympathy. You should take this up with Nilk because her boyfriend from Luton has a big issue against Halal food.

        • stern

          I don't give a crap whether you give a crap or not. The icons are not meant for you and there is no point whatsoever in you butting in here where you're not wanted, even though that's what you do.

          • Schlomotion

            Where I am butting in is where Mr. Greenfield is using his overdeveloped Jewish paranoia to attack American society wholesale. Of course people don't want to be made fun for doing that, but I think it deserves ridicule.

          • Boston

            Cummon, stern. You didn't know that Shlockemotion keeps glatt kosher and makes sure it's a well kept secret. I tried to type this without falling down laughing hysterically and failed miserably. I just love all the conflict on the various kashrut icons and how certain Orthodox will not eat certain glatt kosher products. I remember it being explained to me and my eyes kind of glazed over in the middle of the explanation.

            It doesn't seem to be a big issue with halal because I doubt there's much conflict on how camel meat is ritually killed correctly.

          • Schlomotion

            I do, but my pareve food is also UL certified. I have been safely plugging in Ba-Tampte pickles for years.

          • http://gruberferd.blogspot.com Der Shygetz

            This stupid Tav haYosher on kosher food makes as much sense as a UL certification on a paperweight.

            The difference is that UL would never coerce a paperweight manufacturer into using its services.

            If I were in the US, I would actively boycott a couple of restaurants I used to eat at that now have the Tav HaYosher, and I would make it very clear to the owners why I no longer eat there. If more of us would do that, the gangsters would disappear.

      • Sam Tzeddek

        No! You miss the point. Or at very least you know NOTHING about kosher certification since kosher demands certain behaviors.

        And there are hundreds of kosher certification organizations who are more than happy to give exploitation the thumbs up.

    • neils60

      Schlomo, Your last sentence in your response (The sentence that begins with "Anyway none of them are stopping") says more about you, personally, than any of your commentary throughout this particular blog and elsewhere. If anyone had any thought of assigning even a modicum of credibility to any of your writings, they'd now understand exactly where you're coming from. It's totally disgusting, and that's an understatement.

      • Schlomotion

        It does say a lot about me. I am a laissez faire sort of person. Nothing's stopping me from eating Jewish food, and nothing's stopping Mr. Greenfield from scowling over Manischewitz and grumbling about how the schwartzers ruined New York.

        • stern

          Ah yes, completely lassez faire expect when Joos are involved. Then you simply become offensive.

          • Schlomotion

            I get a free pass to be offensive for ten years in exchange for Howie Mandel, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Leonard Cohen.

          • guest

            a trio of Jews who have become RICH household names – and that irks the hell out of a Jew hating troll like you

        • neils60

          And, nothing's going to stop you from your stereotyping either.

          • Western Canadian

            Lets be honest here. Stereotyping is all this bozo does. If you really want to have fun with his posts (painful to read them, isn’t it?), read them BEFORE you read the article. Try to figure out from his posts what must be in the article. Then read the article, and try not to laugh out loud at how OT and incoherent this bozo usually is.

        • Western Canadian

          No, you are an ignorant pig sort of person. Not at all the same thing.

    • Zionista

      once again you show your stupidity – no one says kosher food is healthier than any other, nor is it a 'cult approved' It's just another way for a Jew hating nobody like you to vent your own self loathing. You must think muslim halal food is fine and dandy – but only because you lack the balls to say anything negative about muslims you coward

      • Schlomotion

        Of course I can say negative things about Muslims. Their religion is dumb and their women aren't allowed to drive cars. They are superstitious about dogs and they wear nightgowns in public. I just have no cause to say these things.

        • Western Canadian

          You could have said that they are miles ahead of any other death cult in total numbers of murders commited, slaves taken, women raped, children raped….. but it isn’t as much fun as bashing and lying about jews, now is it??

          • Schlomotion

            The fact is, that although there are nearly the same amount of Jews and Muslims in the United States, the Jews act stupider.

      • Tim Lieder

        Man. When is the OU going to start certifying Halal food?

        Oh wait. NEVER. Because we're not talking about Halal food.

        If there's a Muslim version of Uri L'Tzedek that makes sure that Halal food comes from an ethical supply chain then more power to them and I hope they have the same success as Uri L'Tzedek.

        But Uri L'Tzedek is a kashrut certification organization. You might have heard of them.

    • Asher

      You have to be kidding…What planet did you grow up on? Kosher is very safe and better quality. These idiots have went too far this time!

      • Tim Lieder

        No. It's not.

        Go to a dozen kosher restaurants and look at the Health Inspection grade. I guarantee that at least half will not be A.

    • Ghostwriter

      Still doing your favorite activity,eh Shlockmotion? Bashing Jews. It must get a thrill up your leg to continually attack Jews merely for existing on this planet.

  • Amused

    In a rare agreement with schlomotion , [ * only in the absurdity of the article ] I find Greenfields STRAWMAN reaching for the heights of the ridiculous . Take an aspirin Greenfield .

  • Ana Fried

    I keep seeing them in the headlines all the time but always for typical liberal things. Never once saw them stand up for Israel. Figures Soros is paying them.

    • Tim Lieder

      Both Hart and Yanklowitz have attended several anti-Iran and pro-Israel rallies. They are also Orthodox Rabbis who received smicha which does a hell of a lot more for Israel than these weird "they are funded by this guy and that guy and….oops ran out of time to say why they are bad, but they are bad." articles.

  • Boston

    Of course, I'd be negligent as a Conservative Jew is I didn't plug their version of their ethical Kashrut initiative.
    http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/04/11/308679

    Of course, the article is based out of left-wing central, i.e. San Fran, but maybe it's presenting something worthwhile to the kashrut discussion anyways.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      I mentioned Magen Tzedek under its old name Hekhsher Tzedek briefly. But it doesn't seem to have much traction. I don't approve of it, but it appears to be a good deal less ugly than Uri L'Tzedek.

      • micha

        Except that Uri L'Tzedek doesn't imply this is super-kashrus, a "hekhsher", or in any way undermine the Jewish food laws by saying "focus on this instead, it's more important". They and Tav Yashar are saying "Don't get so caught up in the ritual that you forget that being a good person comes first."

        And yes, we Orthodox Jews s a community need to police in particular businesses aimed at us in particular. They represent us in the eyes of third parties, and thus we all get blamed for silently allowing their abuses to continue. Also, they are the only firms that we control the market for, and thus can use our clout to change, so that allowing them to continue is actually blameworthy. (Live and let live is an American value not found in the Talmud. c.f. Shavuos 39a (bottom of the page), and Nachmanides' commentary on Genesis 34:25.

      • Tim Lieder

        You do know that you spent the entire article engaged in ad hominem attacks that never proved your point that Uri L'Tzedek is ugly, right? And that this kind of crap journalism is why your in the ghetto of writers.

        Did you even get paid for this thing?

  • Abu Zubi

    The greatest irony being that the pork-chomping Soros does not himself even eat kosher

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Not really an irony since this is a program to devalue Kosher and replace it with what amounts to a union label.

    • Sam Mendes

      The greatest irony is that someone on a rightwing magazine understands nothing about free market capitalism.

      A kosher organization offers up a service for people who want to keep kosher. It accepts money from everyone (including Muslims who might want some assistance in dealing with Halal distribution) just the same as any business that offers a service.

      But of course, the ad hominem attack is all this article has going for it.

  • Schlomotion

    I hate dem joos because I have such a tiny pecker

    • Boston

      Because your circumcission clipped too much off.

      • shmomotion

        I had a cut rate circumcision (no pun intended) – the guy cut out most of my brain

  • Bert

    Jew haters are not really interested in helping the so-called "Palestinians". Beyond destroying Israel, and Jews in general, their true goal lies beyond that. The ultimate goal of all Jew haters, both gentile and Jewish, is destroying Judaism itself. Judaism represents the original rebellion against evil in all of its forms including those that come in attractive packages. This attack on kosher foods is clearly an attack on Jews of faith who are not responding to the trickery of the secular left. These Jewish renegades operate by way of deception, infiltration and thug tactics. These people are not just "misguided'. Their morality is worse than the Nazis because the Nazis slaughtered others bu not thier own. These Jewish renegades want to destroy their fellow Jews.

    • Tim Lieder

      Dude. Get on some medication already.

      Rabbi Yanklowitz is an Orthodox Rabbi who runs a kosher certification organization that was founded due to the unethical treatment of workers in Postville, Iowa in the Rubashkin Plant. The Rubashkins went to jail for various shenanigans.

      Uri L'Tzedek is a kosher certification organization. It helps people eat kosher food.

      I don't think the Nazis would approve.

  • kotzkerette

    It might interest the author of this piece to actually visit the group's website utzedek.org. They are very clear that they are not in the business of kashrut certification. Instead, the Tav haYasher is an additional certification that interested restaurants CHOOSE to have and they do not have to pay Uri L'Ttzedek to get it.

    Also, YCT was created years before Uri L'Tzedek and is not a certification mill as this article suggests. It is a regular Orthodox yeshiva that covers the traditional curriculum of Talmud and Jewish law with its rabbinical students. Any rabbi who has ordination from YCT is as much an Orthodox rabbi as graduates of RIETS or Lakewood's Yeshiva Gevohah.

    • ahadhaamoratsim

      Kotzkerette – Yeshiva Gevohah and REITS require significantly more study than YCYT, and are not run by a self-declared Rosh Yeshiva who takes it upon himself to defy halacha. Neither do Yeshiva Gevohah and REITS , ordain women, nor do rabbis ordained by legitimate Yeshivos such as Yeshiva Gevohah and REITS refuse to condemn sexual immorality that the Torah compares to idol worship (Toevah). Some previous supporters and musmachich of YCT have broken with YCT over YCT's more radical innovations. Regardless of what YCYT or its founder once were, YCT semicha (ordination) today is grounds for suspicion.

      Somehow I can't picture the Kotzer zechusav yagen aleinu relying on a hechsher given by YCT.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Uri L'Tzedek targets Kosher consumers and Kosher business, it implies that its certification should be used the way that Kosher certification is when screening Kosher businesses. It just replaces Kosher with Union.

      YCT is the spawning ground for Uri L'Tzedek. It incorporates JFJ training to turn out community organizers who then prey on the Jewish community.

      Whether or not a YCT grad is an Orthodox Rabbi is decided by community recognition. I suspect that a few years from now, after Uri L'Tzedek's attacks on the Jewish community, that recognition will become very tenuous. I know plenty of people who already will not attend a YCT Rabbi's synagogue.

      • Tim Lieder

        EVERY kosher certification organization targets kosher consumers and kosher businesses because they need the certification in order to sell food to Orthodox Jews.

        And some Orthodox Jews would like to know that their food wasn't prepared by a three dollar a day illegal and choose to buy Uri L'tzedek certified food. Some don't care and use whatever kosher certification is available. I believe that's called "free market capitalism" Have you ever heard of the free market?

        And I know plenty of people who will not attend any synagogue. And I know plenty of people who will not attend a rightwing rabbi's synagogue. Saying that you know people who won't attend a YCT rabbi's synagogue is a useless statement because Jews always have synagogues that they won't attend.

        Considering that you write for a fringe paranoia magazine while R. Yanklowitz and R. Hart are out there creating opportunities for Orthodox Jews who want to eat food that comes from an ethical source and are positive forces for change, it's you that will be relegated to the dust bin of history.

  • icomeanon

    This article is based on a giant misconception – Tav HaYosher is NOT about kosher food. The people behind the Tav completely acknowledge that the food is kosher wether or not the conditions are met. The Tav is NOT to certify or replace a teudah / certification of kashrut.

    Instead, it tell people 3 things:
    1) All employees receive minimum wage (this is a state/federal law)
    2) Proper overtime payments and proper breaks (as regulated by state law)
    3) A safe work environment (no harassment, discrimination, clean and safe working conditions, etc) – also required by federal laws.

    The Tav only certifies regarding these items. They are all already laws, so it’s illegal for any business NOT to follow them.

    Now for the real question – why does the author have a problem with the Tav?

    It’s not about kashrut. It’s about worker’s rights. A business owner is MANDATED by state and federal laws to follow these things anyway. Halacha has unbelievable strict and progressive mandates for how one treats one’s workers. All these things above are required of any shomer mitzvot Jew because we follow the law of the land.

    Wouldn’t we boycott any business in our community found to be cheating it’s workers? Abusing it’s workers? Discriminating against it’s workers?

    Shouldn’t we be thankful for such a seal to do our job for us by already investigating these issues?

    • Daniel Greenfield

      There is already a regulatory regime for businesses to comply with state and federal laws. A private group is not required for this purpose. This isn't about worker's rights, it's about a left-wing group's power grab, its union alliances and its backers on the left.

  • ahadhaamoratsim

    "Now for the real question – why does the author have a problem with the Tav?"

    I can tell you why I do. Why is Tav focussing specifically on kosher food? Why not sneakers? Why not the publishing houses that produce books for the Conservative and Reform movement? Why not the Ipad and Ipods and Iphones that the activists use?

    And because it is funded by Soros, a man who has no more use for Israel, Jews or Judaism than Schlomotion does, but camoflages its goals and motives behind a false flag of Orthodox Judaism. The involvement of YCT — an institution dedicated to undermining Orthodox Judaism while claiming to be part of Orthodox Judaism — is already enough to create suspicion. The fact that Soros finds it worhtwhile to fund is a pretty good clue that Uri L'Tzedek is up to no good.

    • Tim Lieder

      No. The question is why aren't YOU focused on shoes or IPods or books? If you care about these things so much, maybe you should investigate them yourself.

      Tav cares about kosher food because Uri L'Tzedek is an Orthodox organization that provides a service for Orthodox Jews. And if you really think that the YCT "undermines" Orthodox Judaism then you don't know Orthodox Jews.

      The Rubashkins went into Postville, opened a meat packing plant and then exploited the workers and engaged in all matter of shenanigans until they finally ended up in jail. THAT undermines Orthodox Judaism.

      But you think that YCT and Uri L'Tzedek who hold Orthodox Jews up to a moral and ethical standard is what undermines Orthodox Judaism when holding Orthodox Jews up to a moral and ethical standard is what rabbis are SUPPOSED TO DO.

      Please tell me that you're not Jewish.

  • micha

    But sneaker companies won't be impacted by a decision that their plant's defiance of employment's norms and laws violates halakhah. Would Nike notice an Orthodox Jewish, or even General Jewish, boycott? This means that we are more culpable for our silence with regard to employers who do aim at our community in particular than with bands that do not.

    Second, because the kosher vendor is aiming at our community, we, and the vision of Divinity we aspire to worship, will be held accountable for our silence. Their disregard will be taken as our disregard. By not distancing ourselves, we make a statement. But if we are silent about Nike, no one would turn turn that silence into a statement.

    Last, Soros also believes in feeding the poor. Will you stop supporting that cause as well? If he puts his money into some set of soup kitchens, does that prove to you they must have some nefarious purpose? Or does it just mean that even people who disagree on many things have some beliefs in common?

    • Daniel Greenfield

      The vision of Divinity we aspire to worship?

      Hashem Yerachem

    • Guest

      Soros is a eugenicist and believes in removing the poor from the earth.

    • ahadhaamoratsim

      Soros believes in feeding the poor? Soros believes in making more and more people poor by manipulating their currencies into collapse, increasing regulations that will kill new businesses and small businesses but allow his to thrive, destroying morality and the family, keeping people ignorant of the skills and social structures that allow people and societies to prosper, and creating a government debt so huge that only those who receive government largesse — such as his companies and his friends — will be able to survive it.

      "Second, because the kosher vendor is aiming at our community, we, and the vision of Divinity we aspire to worship, will be held accountable for our silence. Their disregard will be taken as our disregard. "
      So how do you feel about all the Judaica made in India and China?

  • Daniel Greenfield

    The left already has groups that target Nike. Uri L'Tzedek works a specialized side of the street. There are left-wing front groups that subdivide to target specific communities and specific areas.

    • Tim Lieder

      And groups like Deckers Outdoors Corporation caters to the customers who want an ethical supply chain which includes a no-tolerance policy and they make great profits from their stance.

      Again, free market capitalism. You might want to look into it.

      • Daniel Greenfield

        There's a difference between catering to a market and employing front groups using a manufactured identity.

  • Martin Depores

    This is the left's attempt to hijack conservative religion, belief, government, food even. They have a neurotic need to control everything and run it .
    Run it into the ground really.

    • Tim Lieder

      This is an Orthodox Jewish group run by Orthodox Jews catering to Orthodox Jews.

      "The Left" has nothing to do with it.

      • Daniel Greenfield

        Uri L'Tzedek is a left-wing group pretending to be Orthodox.

  • matt

    I think it's really telling that Frontpage didn't link to the actual organization in this article "about" the organization. Check your facts. http://www.utzedek.org/whoweare/mission-a-3-pilla

  • Eye on the Tav

    Check out eyeonthetav.com for more details about the unethical practices of Tav Hayashor.

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  • BNP

    I just happened to link to this article – I cant tell if this is satire or for real. Uri Letzedek is a perfectly legitimate orthodox organization, not at all affiliated with the anti-Israel left or right…or any of the organizations mentioned. This is really fantastical and frankly disturbing…that someone could publish something they had to know was simply false

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Uri L’Tzedek is a radical left-wing group. Instead of disproving the article, all you’ve done is fall back to the standard leftist responses of denial, mockery and snark

  • Amused

    I am a JEW you arsehole .

  • Schlomotion

    Your greeting card industry is going to take off. I know it.

  • trickyblain

    Doesn't matter. You're not an unthinking robot that beeps affirmatively at anything squeaked by the DH "Let's call 22 year-old unemployed bloggers Freedom Center Fellows" Hack Squad. In their ingenuous words, you're a "Leftist" and the "Enemy." They get paid in excess of 53 cents to tell all the world.

    They are amusing in their misplaced, laughingly misguided self-importance, though.

  • ahadhaamoratsim

    "I am a JEW"

    Big deal. So were the Yevsektsiya. So were Esav, Achab and Menashe (okay, techincally those 3 were Yisroelim not Yehudim). And so are Chomsky, Soros and Gilad Atzmon. History is littered with the occasional Jew who wanted to stamp out Judaism or end the existence of Jews as a people.

  • Western Canadian

    Talking to yourself again??