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March 26, 2019 10:31 am at 10:31 am #1701541yudelParticipant
An Open Letter to the OU
I have always reserved a special place in my heart for the Orthodox
Union – perhaps because my great-grandfather and namesake, Abraham
Goldstein, founded the OU’s kashrus division.
It is thus with a heavy heart that I must report my shock at
discovering that the OU now certifies a brand called Big Gay Ice
Cream. This company, whose products feature a prominent rainbow, gave
itself this provocative name in order to normalize same-sex behavior.
Some weeks ago, I challenged one of the OU’s principal lay leaders
regarding this matter. He said mine was not the only complaint.
However, he claimed, if the OU refused to certify Big Gay Ice Cream,
“it would be the end of kashrus in America.” Sensing my incredulity,
he explained that such a refusal would lead to wide-scale protests by
gay-rights groups, resulting in many products dropping their kosher
This reasoning defies logic. No such protest would succeed (or even
ensue) since no one assumes the OU has to certify every product.
Moreover, companies want kosher certification because it affords them
access to a large number of consumers. This commercial interest will
not disappear simply because of a few protestors.
Finally, I ask: How would the OU respond to a request for kosher
certification for a brand called “Intermarriage Ice Cream” featuring a
photo of a chassid hugging an obviously gentile woman? I have no doubt
that the OU would decline to certify a product of this nature. Why,
then, is Big Gay Ice Cream different?
I suspect, sadly, that the answer lies in the wearing down of our
aversion to same-sex couples. Even in the Orthodox community, many no
longer find homosexuality objectionable. If I am correct, we have
truly lost our moral compass.
I call upon the Orthodox Union to immediately withdraw its
certification of Big Gay Ice Cream and reclaim the moral high ground
that, for decades, has been one of its defining characteristics.
Far Rockaway, NYMarch 26, 2019 11:10 am at 11:10 am #1701866
If the OU refused to certifify Ice Cream, Some LGBT group would lobby companies to remove the “hate Symbol” of the Ou from their products and many companies would comply as they do not want to be associated with a “hate group”
Even Hemish brand used nationally certified based products like flour or other similar ingridiants and they would become unablable.
Who cares about ” Big gay ice cream”, I bet most people never even heard of it. I know I never didMarch 26, 2019 11:47 am at 11:47 am #1701891RichardParticipant
The OU (and most other Hechesherim) has maintained many times that their job is to certify the product not the ideology of the company . the potential for lawsuits is hugeMarch 26, 2019 11:48 am at 11:48 am #1701884
While an ice cream made from “gay” people would not necessarily violate the meat-milk rule, it would definitely be non-kosher, and might also violate “ever min ha-hai” (dependeing on whether the person was schedchted before be added to the ice cream). There is also a risk of various diseases. Note that halacha prohibits canibalism in all cases. I suspect the taste would be an abominable.
Seriously, kosher food companies should avoid politics. The fact the people on the “blue side of the spectrum will pay for a hecksher is a good thing. Indeed, many of the non-Jewish firms who produce kosher foods have left-wing views. If kosher certification were limited only to companies that market exclusively to frum Jews , the choice of products would be much less, and the price much higher (as is the case with companies that in fact limit sales to the frum community).March 26, 2019 11:48 am at 11:48 am #1701882
“Ice cream called “big gay” certified kosher-what’s your take?”
Where can I get some, and do I have to be mevatel neder for Cholov Stam?
By your logic, they could put pork in their ice cream and the OU would still have to hechsher it. Nobody said they have to make a public statement that they’re boycotting it because of the gay thing.March 26, 2019 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm #1701914jdf007Participant
Think they may have to copy the secular/legal approach, such as how the American courts distinguish subjects. In other words, maybe the OU should stick to products, and not marketing and business plans. Because, there are a lot of good responses here on the repercussions if they start going beyond the products. Otherwise, there’s a slippery slope of where the certification stops. Employee pay of the company? $15/hour wage?
Secondly, giving everything a really really really stupid name is the new trend. It’s starting to get difficult to figure out what these one syllable products are even for.March 26, 2019 1:17 pm at 1:17 pm #1701951
By your logic, they could put pork in their ice cream and the OU would still have to hechsher it. Nobody said they have to make a public statement that they’re boycotting it because of the gay thing.
You cannot compare putting pork in the product to “gay ice cream” . Straw man argument.March 26, 2019 1:51 pm at 1:51 pm #1701961lowerourtuition11210Participant
next thing is to ban “Fruit of the Loom” underwear.March 26, 2019 1:51 pm at 1:51 pm #1701962lowerourtuition11210Participant
or Frum bakeries should stop selling “rainbow” cookiesMarch 26, 2019 1:51 pm at 1:51 pm #1701964
There’s no requirement for the OU to certify anyone. A halal agency would get away with not certifying something like that. But the liberal Dem Jews would be first in line to smear the OU. The OU shouldn’t give the hashgacha and every rav should back that up.March 26, 2019 1:59 pm at 1:59 pm #1701972
There’s no requirement for the OU to certify anyone. A halal agency would get away with not certifying something like that. But the liberal Dem Jews would be first in line to smear the OU. The OU shouldn’t give the hashgacha and every rav should back that up.
Its not a Legal requirement, Its a public relations issue. You dont want groups calling for boycotts of a “hate group” Companies dont want to be botheredMarch 26, 2019 2:08 pm at 2:08 pm #1701966GadolhadorahParticipant
Ther are many foods with OU hashgacha where individuals associated with the upstream ownership of the brand has either espoused or supported racist views, in some cases with anti-semitic overtones. The OU cannot and should not be a political thought police. They should agressively monitor compliance with kashruth rules. I some cases, where the hashgacha extends to a public facility or restaurant where they are providing onsite hashgacha, they are acting appropriately when they monitor activities at that location that are contrary to halacha (e.g. the warning to the simcha hall about the kallah drumming with the band). However, they should not be in the busines of censoring the views of uptream owners whih have no nexus with their food products. Otherwise, can you sponsor a “kosher pesach cruise” on a cruise line that the week before had chartered the boat for a “gay cruise”??March 26, 2019 2:19 pm at 2:19 pm #1701982Avi KParticipant
Yudel, there is no aveira in being gay. The aveira is doing an action. Even then there is no prohibition for non-Jewish women (see Rambam Hilchot Issurei Biah 14:10 and Hilchot Melachim 9:5). Of course, it could be that Big Gay is someone’s name. It sounds like it could be gangster’s. Speaking of which, what is your take on the Bialystoker Shul having a memorial plaque for Bugsy (בערוש ב”ר מרדכי דוב הלוי) Siegel?March 26, 2019 2:19 pm at 2:19 pm #1701980Shnitzy2Participant
I’m a Big Gay.
I eat a lot of chocolate and I’m happy all the time. 8_8March 26, 2019 2:45 pm at 2:45 pm #1701990MenoParticipant
Of course, it could be that Big Gay is someone’s name
Yeah, someone who has trouble picking colors so he just uses all of them.March 26, 2019 3:57 pm at 3:57 pm #1702051
Because of this, I googled the company. They certify flavors that have pretty offensive names. They could easily use that as a reason not to certify them. Then again, OU is a MO organization.March 26, 2019 4:04 pm at 4:04 pm #1702054
Whether they intend to or not, a certification is an advertisement of its product. End of story.March 26, 2019 4:15 pm at 4:15 pm #1702062MenoParticipant
Whether they intend to or not, a certification is an advertisement of its product. End of story.
I assume you mean endorsement, but either way it’s not really true.March 26, 2019 4:28 pm at 4:28 pm #1702110
Meno, yes it is. It is both.March 26, 2019 4:28 pm at 4:28 pm #1702137☕ DaasYochid ☕Participant
Honestly, they shouldn’t certify a company whose name refers to toeivah. Unfortunately, they lack the courage to stand up for the Torah.March 26, 2019 4:43 pm at 4:43 pm #1702141
What is someone wanted to come out “Hitler ice cream”, with a swastika on the box (meaning they couldn’t legally sell it in Germany, but America has no such law) BUT they also wanted a hecksher (to prove that no animal fats were included, as is sometimes done, and to recall that Hitler was a vegetarian)?March 26, 2019 5:14 pm at 5:14 pm #1702370Rebbe YidParticipant
There’s no Hitler-rights lobby to protest. But there’s a big mishkav zochor lobby.
Incidentally, if the OU refused the hechsher and one thing led to another and they went out of business, there’d be a host of other hechsherim waiting to take their place for all products around the world. So it’s really more of a business decision, rather than “the end of kashrus as we know it.” The OU like to pretend that they’re the be all and end all. They almost are, bemetzius, but if they disappeared there’d be a quick replacement.March 26, 2019 6:08 pm at 6:08 pm #1702474justme22Participant
OU is not required to CERTIFY everyone but if a company calls them for an inspection and they decline without a reason this would create a similar public reaction than the bakers who did not bake the cake.
The cake bakers had it harder and made sense to refusing because they needed to bake a cake for the toeiva event , this is merely a brand with a word that could have a double meaning and a rainbow not a wedding.
Perhaps same issue would be with fake bacon.
In Halacha some things ( like chilul shbs for a non Jewish
chole ) I believe are Allowed bcs of darchei shalom
If we have an obligation to be mechalel shbs bcs if darchei shalom we I believe certainty there is reasoning we shouldn’t make huge statements that don’t stop anyone from toeiva ( ice cream eating ) . I’m sure the OU did not decide this without some thinking done first.
There is also a bottle of wine with a heksher that has as a name unorthodox:)March 26, 2019 6:19 pm at 6:19 pm #1702504
ZD, you completely misunderstood my point. I was not comparing.
Your point, as you spelled out clearly, is that they have to hechsher any outwardly gay company regardless of circumstances to avoid backlash from gay lobbyests. What if the company started including treif ingredients? Then we all have to eat treif because we’re held hostage by the activists? That isn’t a straw man argument. Your defense for the hechsher had nothing to do with kashrus; you seemed to be more concerned with appeasing the liberals.March 26, 2019 7:30 pm at 7:30 pm #1702553
The OU is more concerned about the “Alternative Lifestyle :Lobby” than the “Treif Food Eaters” Lobby they are alot more powerfulMarch 26, 2019 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm #1702628
They can just say it’s treif. How are they going to know the difference?March 27, 2019 12:30 am at 12:30 am #1702676☕ DaasYochid ☕Participant
Gam ki eileich big gay tzalmavesMarch 27, 2019 7:28 am at 7:28 am #1702724Avi KParticipant
Actually, one of the reasons for the name is that the owners feel that it makes people happy. What about listening to “On Top of Spaghetti”
(בשר וחלב).?March 27, 2019 7:36 am at 7:36 am #1702764
Do you really think most people in the food business are ignorant when it comes to kosher, Do you really think they think kosher just means its “Blessed by the Rabbi”. If you really think that, then you are the ignaramous.
People in that business have a good idea what kosher is, they would not be in that business if they didnt, they might not know some intricacies and if those come up they will ask what the problem is. Its not a big secret what kosher specifics are.
Once the OU (or for that many any hashghca) says, We cannot give a Hashghca to a product with an “alternative lifestyle” in the title , and there is nothing you can do to fix. All the big gay ice cream company has to do is go to the “Alternative media” like the NY Times and tell them the OU is a hate group because they will not certify us as kosher , no matter what we do , because they are homophobicMarch 27, 2019 7:37 am at 7:37 am #1702765Sy GParticipant
I recall many years back, the OU removed its hashgacha from Jewish-owned places that permitted mixed dancing which went against their principals. Why should this be any different?March 27, 2019 8:40 am at 8:40 am #1702787writerParticipant
Sy G- Jews understand the problem and won’t go to media for attention against their fellow jew. Usually. Plus on Jewish owned private venues there are strict rules not just on food. Even in restaurants the hasgacha can be strict on what music is playing in the background.March 27, 2019 8:40 am at 8:40 am #1702786LOTR92Participant
OU certifies the kashrus of food, not the namesMarch 27, 2019 9:13 am at 9:13 am #1702822TGIShabbosParticipant
I actually agree with GadolHadorah on this one 100%. It’s not the job of the OU to control the politics of a food item, the back-cover of a box of cereal, or the product name. I recall seeing an OU-D chocolate Santa and a chocolate cross, but no hechsher on a box of Channuka cookies. Would I buy it?– No. Would I make a fuss?– No How about Hershey’s making egg shaped chocolates for Easter? Should I go on…..?
I don’t see anything wrong with the actual flavors of “Big Gay Ice Cream”. From their website here is an example of a flavor description “Rocky Roadhouse is our version of this classic flavor that starts with creamy milk chocolate ice cream and adds in dark chocolate bar chunks, almonds, mini marshmallows and then swirls of hazelnut fudge. Thus making ours a little extra gooey and therefore a little extra delicious.”March 27, 2019 9:18 am at 9:18 am #1702826TGIShabbosParticipant
LOTR92, exactly! Agreed. edited Hashgachos are to supervise the kashrus of the food, that is what I am expecting when I dine at a restaurant. If I am uncomfortable with the TV situation, then I dine elsewhere.March 27, 2019 11:14 am at 11:14 am #1702919
“Do you really think most people in the food business are ignorant when it comes to kosher”
They might not think it means “blessed by a rabbi,” but do you think Philadelphia Cream Cheese realizes that other hechsherim consider them to be gavinas akum? Do you think goyish food workers realize there are certain enzymes that some hashgachos consider treif while others don’t? There are so many small things where the OU is meikel; they could just chose one of those things to be machmir on this one time as their reason. I don’t think Big Gay is going to do that in depth of research.
By the way, I’m not necessarily saying they should pull the hechsher; that’s not for me to say. But, your reasoning that they should provide hechsherim essentially on the basis of giving into terrorism is ludicrous.March 27, 2019 11:43 am at 11:43 am #1702982
General companies that get hechshers are not doing it to get some small community in Brooklyn. They are doing it to sell to people who think Kosher means better quality and some expanded commuinities who eat kosher, Like Seventh Day Adventists, Some muslims, some people who are looking for Dairy free items (Obviously not applicate here) they dont need every chumra. Just a basic hasghca
I googled big gay ice cream as I never heard of it before and see they are in NYC, People in NYC are not stupid and know basic kosher (Like Baskin Robbins, Ben and Jerry’s etc) they are not looking for the Mehadrin buyers of Ice cream. I also looked up the names of the owners one of them is named Petroff, Im not sure if that is jewish or not. The other does not appear to have a name anything like that
This company wants to be the same as Baskin Robbins, Ben and Jerrys or Haagen DazeMarch 27, 2019 2:50 pm at 2:50 pm #1703117
Neville, if they didn’t know before, they do now.March 27, 2019 6:17 pm at 6:17 pm #1703246
Lol, Reb Yidd, touche.March 27, 2019 6:53 pm at 6:53 pm #1703258
And perhaps this discussion hasn’t addressed the question, even assuming the product in question is by and for “gays”, since when does a Jew being “gay” in any way exempt them from keeping kosher (or Shabbos, or any mitsva). Are you going to argue that ding one aveirah is a heter to do more aveirahs????March 27, 2019 7:01 pm at 7:01 pm #1703264
Neville there are a lot of people who think that kosher means that the food was blessed by a rabbi. I’ve heard people use that.March 27, 2019 9:44 pm at 9:44 pm #1703297
Part of the problem here is people think someone who is not jewish or not frum are morons when it comes to kosher
You can easily type “What is Kosher” in google and get a good answer (Chabad comes out on top, the purchased google adwords for kosher)March 28, 2019 10:35 am at 10:35 am #1703434
“Part of the problem here is people think someone who is not jewish or not frum are morons when it comes to kosher”
99% of the time, they are. Typing “kosher” into google is not going to teach you the intricacies involved when dealing with modern food science. Your constant comments like this are not convincing me that the masses know about kashrus, rather they’re convincing me that YOU think kashrus is a lot more simple than it really is.March 28, 2019 11:59 am at 11:59 am #1703508YeshivishrockstarParticipant
The OU should not be certifying this. Period. But they used to certify Glatt Kosher strip clubs until they got pressured, so maybe lets apply some pressure?
They still have Avi Weiss’s shul as part of their org, so they obviously dont really care too much about toras hashem. I’m not sure why people still rely on them for kashrus if they think the torah is a joke.
As I asked the OU head after they told Avi Weiss that he has four years to fire the woman rabbis, “Does the OU give companies that have traif 4 years to get rid of it?”March 28, 2019 11:59 am at 11:59 am #1703512
If one would head over to the facebook page of this ice cream company and read the origins of the name, this entire thread, the letter by mr. goldstien and the answer by “the guy at the OU” he spoke with, they would realize the entire thread is a waste of time.March 28, 2019 11:59 am at 11:59 am #1703562
Nobody said Kashruth is simple, however you dont have to be an expert to get a real good idea. Nowhere does it say what the religious oberservance (Or lack thereof) of the owners plays a part in Kosher, as long as they are willing to follow the rules.March 29, 2019 7:48 am at 7:48 am #1704604Shopping613 🌠Participant
The word gay and the symbol rainbows doesn’t have to mean same sex marriage.
I grew up reading older books that used the word gay quite frequently to the point it was in my vocabulary as a 10 year old when I wrote stories in literature class.
If you don’t want to support the company, than don’t!
But if it’s kosher and good, I’ll eat it. Unless the money is going to Gaza or Anti-semitism.March 29, 2019 11:20 am at 11:20 am #1704744
Shopping613, this particular company is definitely using the symbol and the word in the more modern way. It’s not a secret.March 29, 2019 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm #1704751
The netspark filter (installed by TAG) on my phone initially blocked access to this thread (had to call them to whitelist this url) …. at least I know it works.
Anyway, back to the ice cream…..March 29, 2019 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm #1704750
“Shopping613, this particular company is definitely using the symbol and the word in the more modern way.”
Not according to the company. Read what the company has to say about Its name and its origins.March 29, 2019 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm #1704764
The name was chosen precisely for its double meaning.
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