Chocolate production doesn’t much resemble the magical world portrayed in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. No chocolate rivers, no trained squirrels, and sadly, no everlasting gobstoppers. However, there’s one very unfortunate similarity – the size of the laborers. The workers in the cocoa farms are often no taller than an oompa-loompa. But they don’t sing and dance. That’s because, they’re enslaved children.
As a nation that is commanded to remember that we ourselves were once slaves, perhaps plying our friends and families with chocolate gelt isn’t the most kosher way to celebrate hanukkah.
Fortunately, there’s Divine Chocolates, a fair trade cooperative, that now produces a line of kosher, fairly traded milk chocolate coins. (Sorry, I can’t find a pareve version.) They are available from a number of on-line stores for $4-5 per bag (about 17 coins.) I suggest you ask your synagogue gift shop and your local co-op to order them as well. Oh, apparently they also sell them at that store that hates health care Whole Foods.
Speaking of food that you feel good about eating, tonight we are having beef for shabbat. This is a first for us, as I will not buy factory farmed meat. However, recently our nearby Chabad house bought a local, grass-fed, pasture raised cow and, um, killed it. In exchange for a donation, I came home with 3 bags of frozen, kosher beef out of which my brother will make a delicious stew. Mom baked the challah. And everything else will be leftovers. This is why I love Thanksgiving.