Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Response to "Rabbi Friendship..." Article

What follows is the text of a letter sent by Mark Savin, President of Beth Jacob Congregation, to Kosher Today on January 25, 2007 in response to one of their articles:

To The Editor:

It is with great sadness that I read the account purporting to document the fraying of a relationship between an Orthodox rabbi and Conservative rabbi in Kosher Today. I am particularly dismayed that the article's thrust was to portray the Orthodox rabbi, Asher Zeilingold, as a victim of the "deception" of the Conservative rabbi, Morris Allen. As president of the congregation that is honored to have Rabbi Allen as its spiritual leader, I know him to be a man of truth, candor, honesty and vision.

Rabbi Allen has been a tireless champion of kashrut, encouraging its observance, increasing its availability (including in my own neighborhood), seeking to lower the cost of maintaining a kosher household and supporting merchants who carry kosher goods. He furthermore has shown great sensitivity to the heath and safety of those workers who produce kosher products, hardly a goal that deserves debate.

I will tell you, if you do not already know, that your mentions of PETA and a dispute between the American Jewish World and Twin-City Poultry has nothing at all to do with the work of Rabbi Allen. It is not a good practice in our tradition to impugn a person by linking him with unrelated causes and parties.

That Rabbi Allen's efforts - which are of no financial benefit to him - are attacked by fellow Jews who also believe in the sanctity of kosher laws is unfair and misguided. I hope that readers of Kosher Today have a more expansive understanding and appreciation for the efforts of all Jews who seek to ensure that the kosher food they eat is reasonably priced, easily available, and safely produced.

I hope that Rabbi Zeilingold himself will step forward to correct your erroneous account of this matter.

Mark Savin
President, Beth Jacob Congregation
Mendota Heights, Minnesota