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Is there a halachic reason to be opposed to Uri L'Tzedek and Tav haYosher? Why do some frum Jews oppose it?

Really the only things that I can find is that Uri L'Tzedek is left-wing and led by YCT rabbis, but this particular project of theirs seems to me like it should be relatively uncontroversial.

I know this is not the case, though, because a number of restaurants have refused the Tav simply because they think that it will be bad for business.

Information about Uri L'Tzedek: Wikipedia, homepage

Tav HaYosher: Wikipedia, homepage

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    @Daniel, could you add information (or links to same) to your question about what these are and something about what the issue is? (I see you've done some of this in comments, but the question is a better place for that information -- easier to read, and comments can be deleted without leaving a revision history.) Thanks. Jul 25, 2012 at 15:31
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    Until you demonstrate that some people are opposed, maybe you should ask in a way that doesn't presuppose there is a problem, like "Is this a good thing?" "What are the reasons to support or oppose?"
    – Double AA
    Jul 25, 2012 at 15:35
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    @Daniel, thanks for adding the links; that's better. Could you add something about the opposition you're talking about? What form does it take? Thanks. Jul 25, 2012 at 15:57
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    @MonicaCellio: I have to admit, I can't really find anything online about the opposition. That's why I'm kind of confused. I know it exists, though, because I know many people who have a strong disdain for Uri L'Tzedek and their programs. There are also plenty of articles online claiming that there is a controversy, but never actually discussing it. I guess I'm trying to find out what the controversy is all about.
    – Daniel
    Jul 25, 2012 at 16:01
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    See cross-currents.com/archives/2012/02/17/…
    – Ariel K
    Jul 31, 2012 at 3:34

4 Answers 4

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Quoting from "Rubashkin Revenge: Ethical Certificates at Center of Dispute" (Jewish Journal, Los Angeles, July 25, 2012:

Although the pushback against the Tav appears to be coming primarily, if not exclusively, from individuals affiliated with the Chabad Lubavitch movement, there is no evidence that any official encouragement came from Chabad, according to the organization’s leaders and those involved in the anti-Tav efforts. ...

The issue appears not to be the Tav certification, per se, but rather that in 2008, Uri L’Tzedek was the instigator of a boycott of products from the Agriprocessors meat processing plant in Postville, Iowa, in the wake of the massive immigration raid that closed down the plant.

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  • +1 This is actually a sourced answer! Can anyone clarify when Tav certification began?
    – Double AA
    Jul 30, 2012 at 17:29
  • "Uri L’Tzedek established the Tav Hayosher in 2009 as a free certification. To qualify, employers must demonstrate that they calculate worker’s hours accurately, pay wages—including overtime – promptly and in full and grant breaks to their employees, as required by law. Studies have shown that many food-service businesses – both kosher and non—fall short of these basic legal requirements."
    – Seth J
    Jul 30, 2012 at 17:32
  • It began shortly after the rubashkin incident, in response to it.
    – Daniel
    Jul 30, 2012 at 17:32
  • @SethJ So the Tav itself was never involved in the Rubashkin affair, so any complaints against it based on Rubashkin are really against the parent organization, Uri L'Tzedek. That is in my mind an important distinction.
    – Double AA
    Jul 30, 2012 at 17:34
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    Regardless of whether the position makes sense, this does seem like it is a reason why people oppose the Tav. Therefore, I am accepting this as the answer.
    – Daniel
    Jul 30, 2012 at 18:40
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You ask two questions:

Is there a halachic reason to be opposed to Uri L'Tzedek and Tav haYosher? Why do some frum Jews oppose it?

I cannot answer the first. As to the second, the culture of the orthodox Jewish community is that it is resistant to change and that new trends tend to meet opposition at first. Here, for example, rabbis for centuries, and (more relevantly) even rabbis of last century, had seemingly not seen a need for such certification, so it can be viewed as not necessary. Moreover, it may be seen (even if inaccurately) as imposing rules (the certification's criteria) over and above halacha, which is often viewed as repugnant. Finally, the identities of the people who started it is no saving grace: had a gadol hador started the tav, a greater number of orthodox people may have acceded to his judgement as steeped in Tora.

I'm not passing judgement on the validity of these views (perhaps they are valid, perhaps not). You asked why some "frum" Jews oppose it, and this is my conjecture.

(Compare a similar though not identical answer about confirmation.)

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  • See my comment: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/18021/… I think this may be different.
    – Seth J
    Jul 25, 2012 at 18:20
  • @SethJ, good point. The "Why do some frum Jews oppose it?" part of the question may be unanswerable. Perhaps it should be excised from the question, leaving only the halachic question?
    – msh210
    Jul 25, 2012 at 18:31
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    Or he could ask if there are any published statements providing justification for opposition.
    – Seth J
    Jul 25, 2012 at 20:14
  • I like @SethJ 's suggestion.
    – Double AA
    Jul 30, 2012 at 5:04
  • There now seems to be [limited] information online about the opposition. Actually, I wonder if that article I quoted from was what inspired this question.
    – Seth J
    Jul 30, 2012 at 17:29
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There was an initiative very similar to this from non-halachic groups, and in general an objection raised about a non-Torah true organization imposing requirements in the guise of a hechsher. Perhaps there is perception that the objection raised in that case apply here. I am not informed if the same issues apply here or not. They inlcude: Being founded following the Rubashkin incident, where the charges were not found to be have veracity - so therefore founded in falsehood; The certification being focused on food establishents, (and only kosher ones)- where if it was genuinly interested in ethical standards should apply to any business, such as clothing manufacturers; Would harm the kashrus standards, confuse companies who would be expected to carry a second certification; Is assuming the role of enforcing or making statments on enforcement of regulations already managed by local, state, federal labor laws and government enforcement agencies.

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    Didn't the Rubashkin company plead guilty to 80 or so counts of something?
    – Double AA
    Jul 25, 2012 at 20:27
  • I am sure that they would love to focus on clothing manufacturers, etc. but my understanding is that they are a somewhat small organization.
    – Daniel
    Jul 25, 2012 at 20:38
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The Tav was founded on lies against Rubashkin. the Tav was given information by the Union, Rubashkin was found not guilty on the child labor charges which proves the Tav can make up lies on business owners.

Legal authorities of the land are already in-place, the Tav Heksher makes it seem that Jews will under-pay employees. That is why many kosher eateries wont accept the Tav and their bullies, which started on lies agains Rubashkin.

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    Rubashkin was found guilty of 86 counts of fraud. He was acquitted of the child labor charges because he might not have known about them, but Agriprocessors as a corporation pleaded guilty to child labor charges as well. (The results of the court cases are available on Wikipedia.)
    – Daniel
    Jul 27, 2012 at 21:46
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    @TheFedexGuy A source for any of your claims would be appreciated.
    – Double AA
    Jul 27, 2012 at 21:48
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    @ShmuelBrin: Thank you! That is a real answer to this question (and I think a more relevant one than the the answer you gave above, actually)
    – Daniel
    Jul 27, 2012 at 23:47
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    @TheFedexGuy It's quite clear you don't like the Tav, but that doesn't mean you have to lie. A cursory look at the list on their website shows a number of restaurants that are part of larger chains and are not Jewish owned, such as 16 Handles in Manhattan and the Doubletree Hotel in Chicago. Please stick to the facts. And by the way I'm still waiting on sources that show that the Tav are 'bullies' and 'make up lies'.
    – Double AA
    Jul 29, 2012 at 19:23
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    @TheFedexGuy It wasn't a farce. He was employing them. It couldn't be proven that he knew he was employing them, but he definitely was employing them. Why do you keep lying?
    – Double AA
    Jul 31, 2012 at 0:07

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