Local, Sustainable, Ethical, Free-range, Affordable, and Kosher?

Please join us on President’s Day Monday (Feb. 21, 2011) for one or two events about local, sustainable, ethical, and kosher meat, with Rabbi Shalom Kantor, the US’s only Conservative schochet.

All are welcome to Rabbi Kantor’s morning talk about kosher slaughter, ethical meat production, and Jewish values concerning what we eat. This talk will be of interest to anyone concerned about how to eat rightly and Jewishly. In addition, it is a prerequisite to the afternoon workshop. Donations are welcome, and childcare will be provided. This talk will be given at Congregation Agudat Achim, 2117 Union Street (Route 7), Schenectady, at 10am.

At 2pm on the same day, at our farm in Brunswick, Rabbi Kantor will do a hands-on training workshop for those interested in learning techniques for kosher slaughter of chickens, with the ultimate goal of bringing local, free-range, humane and affordable kosher meat to the Capital Region and supporting local community farmers.   Again, babysitting will be provided.

My “co-creator” and major organizer of the workshop, Sharon Astyk, is hoping to start a kosher, ethical, free-range, humane, sustainable, and affordable chicken CSA perhaps as soon as this summer.  She writes:

Obviously meat raising and slaughter are difficult, sensitive and emotional subjects for all of us.  While all of us know that we must to some degree come to terms with the lives that support and feed us, all of us are going to have a different relationship to this.  So those who do not want to participate in the slaughter workshop or confront the direct realities of this should not feel bad, or that their contribution is lesser.  In reality, to make this happen as a community, we will need all sorts of help and support – from those who farm and raise animals, to those who slaughter, to those who participate financially to those who participate in making the organization work.  All of these roles are valuable, and all of us together will be engaged in the larger project of creating something good and valuable, kosher and ethical.

From my own perspective, were G-d concerned with making eating animals easy, the laws of kashruth wouldn’t be there – it isn’t supposed to be easy to take any life. It is supposed to require thought and energy, purpose and kindness, passion and spiritual preparation.  The fact that this is an exercise of many parts, with many participants able to offer different contributions is a good thing – only as a community and a whole can we make this right.
For more information about any of this, leave a reply here.