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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Tarrifs and Eco Kashrut

Eco-Kashrut, also called the Eco-Kosher movement, is a movement to extend the Kashrut system, or Jewish dietary laws, to address modern environmental, social, and ethical issues, and promote sustainability.
This movement began in the 1970s among American Reconstructionist Jews, and eco-kashrut or eco-kosher approaches enjoyed a resurgence in the 1990s with the work of Reconstructionist rabbi, author, and activist Arthur Waskow. A third wave of the eco-kashrut or eco-kosher movement began in the mid-2000s, spurred on in part by a series of kosher production facility scandals. -Wiki

There’s a famous story about Rabbi Israel Salanter, founder of the Musar movement, who was asked to certify a matzah factory, and after he inspected it, and saw everything was kosher, they asked for the certification. He said, ‘I will not, because even though everything is kosher, I’ve seen how you treat the women who work here, so I will not certify this factory as kosher.’ So there’s precedent for saying something can be ritually kosher, but it betrays Jewish law and values in other respects.

Another, perhaps less famous person I know in my community maintains that Tariffs, that is a levee against foreign made goods by the government to help its own citizens compete, has real potential. 

Not like that angry idiot we have to referrer to as President, or his cadre of suits mind you...

Her ideal is that if you leave our country to produce a good where workers are treated worse than the domestic worker, the tariff should cover the difference in safety, health care, benefits, pay ect.. 

It would be good to stem undercutting by capitalists, profiteering on the backs of labor, by making the real cost of the good equitable to a minimum standard of ethical production. 

It would be an economic incentive to up the standards in overseas production facilities or keep production domestic. 

It would be a good use of a tariff...

This is my cup, my bowl and my spork, they will last me years and years. They are what I travel to and from work with and used on the road for their durability. At home I use metal and glass. I recently left the natural gas industry. I worked at the midstream level. We managed connecting the wells to the interstate transmission system. I know exactly what it takes to get methane from the ground and methane side products are where a lot of your plastics come from. 

The gas “stocks” feed “cracker” plants that break the molecules into smaller parts and react the methane to get you ethylene. It makes the raw material for the plastics industry.

Stop and ask yourself, be honest. Do you have a need for virgin plastics or is it about convenience? There are real needs, I need plastics in my life. But in the places where I really don’t need it I’ve said good bye. 
 Small changes to have big impacts. Try to re define what kosher means to you, not what it meant to some rabbis somewhere else in the time and space. English has co-opted the phrase "that's not kosher" to be applied to anything that doesn't seem right. Well, take the term back and apply it in your life. Start small, make a declaration for only your own self, your own room, your own apartment, your own house, your own property! Let things have variable status. It's not the car that is or isn't kosher, it's why we are using it. It's not the plastic that is or isn't kosher, it's why we are using it. I find kosher as a concept to be about intention, see where your intentions can take you. 

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