Picture of Melissa Hoffman, M.S.

Melissa Hoffman, M.S.

Melissa (she/her) has worked with JIFA since its inception in 2016. In her role, she consults with Jewish organizations and communities across the country to develop and implement ethical food practices, as well as curriculum and programs that foster compassion for all living beings through the lens of Jewish values. Prior to working with JIFA at Farm Forward, she earned her M.S. in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University in North Grafton, Massachusetts. She is based in Denver, Colorado.

All blogs by Melissa Hoffman, M.S.

Kosher Production Suffers from Low or No Animal Welfare Standards

Since kosher certifications lack purview over how animals are bred, treated, and handled prior to slaughter, a third party auditor is one way to verify that farms meet higher welfare standards. Unfortunately, no third party certification currently includes comprehensive standards for kosher meat products, and therefore no kosher meat products are certified as higher welfare.

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Genetic Welfare and Outdoor Access Aren’t Different for Kosher

Kosher certifications lack purview over how animals are bred, treated, and handled prior to slaughter. Unhealthy genetics and restricted or no access to the outdoors are conditions consistent across animal production in the United States and, increasingly, the world, including for animals that are certified kosher.

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New Research Shows Shoppers Mistakenly Believe Kosher is Better for Animals

The data confirms what JIFA has inferred from previous research that shows people think kosher food is inherently better: consumers, both Jewish and non-Jewish, extend this belief to the way farmed animals are bred and raised, despite the fact virtually all kosher and non-kosher meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs come from animal raised on factory farms.

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Advancing Jewish Ethics of Food and Farmed Animals—Together

It’s only with cooperation and allyship of organizations and Jewish leaders that we elevate a vision for a more harmonious, resilient, and just food system. Achieving this change will require the participation of Jewish organizations and leaders that haven’t yet addressed factory farming and its impact on Jewish communal life.

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The Meaning of Kosher

The concept of kosher has been a mainstay of Jewish life for centuries. Ancient kashrut laws have provided Jewish communities with a framework for determining which foods are “fit to eat” and how to slaughter animals according to approved religious procedures.

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Is this kosher?