Virtual Talmud

We took up the question of the Conservative Movement’s Hecksher Tzedek a few months back and I am glad Rabbi Grossman brought it up again. At the time I was taken aback by the negative comments that some had posted opposing Hecksher Tzedek as an attempt to foist non-Jewish (ie, contemporary liberal American) values onto Jewish practice, as though Jewish practice were some timeless and monolithic institution that didn’t respond to changing values and mores. One of the reasons Judaism is as rich, varied, and resonant as it is, is that Jews were constantly adapting to changing circumstances and surrounding culture, and their practices adapted with them. It’s a point I’ve made many times before on this blog: Judaism is created by the Jewish people and evolves through time, rather than remaining static and fixed. Protesting that caring about the treatment of animals–or workers, or the environment–is somehow not a “Jewish” position is preposterous, especially because it doesn’t involve contravening any existing laws. I don’t see how one can possibly oppose the idea of this hecksher unless they have a vested interest in the current monopoly over kosher certification or believe that any innovation is wrong on its face.