This is a Guest Column by Vic Rosenthal, Executive Director of Jewish Community Action.
Jewish Community Action is asking you—the TC Jewfolk community—to send a New Year’s message to the new owners of the kosher meat plant in Postville, Iowa.
It has been over a year since many of us went to Postville to demand better practices at the Agriprocessors plant and to call for humane, comprehensive immigration reform. The May 12, 2008, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) immigration raid at the Agriprocessors plant, then the nation’s largest kosher meat supplier, led to the detention of over 390 people, and the arrests of 250. Those arrested were charged with felonies and sentenced to five months in prison before being deported.
Recently, a new company – SHF Industries – purchased Agriprocessors, now named Agri Star.
We believe this is an opportunity for change.
As the Jewish community prepares for the holiest days of the year–a time for reflection, renewal and fresh starts– Jewish Community Action invites you to join us in expressing our hopes for improved conditions and better practices under the new owners’ leadership.
Please take a few moments to send a New Year’s greeting to the new owners, letting them know that our community cares as much about the conditions under which our food is produced as we do about the quality and fitness of our food. We care about the impact on the community, the work force, the animals, and the environment.
We are asking SHF Industries CEO Daniel Hirsh to meet and develop a genuine and lasting working partnership with the newly-created Postville Community Benefits Alliance (PCBA), to ensure that the problems of the past are not repeated. The PCBA comprises local congregations, social service agencies, community leaders, and allies (including Jewish Community Action and Jewish Council on Urban Affairs) and was formed to ensure that everyone benefits this time around: the workers, the community, the company, and the consumers. The PCBA has made requests for a meeting, but Daniel Hirsch has not yet committed to the request.
Help send the message that the first step in doing things differently is to develop a working relationship that will ensure the health and prosperity of the town, the workers, and the company. Jewish organizations across the country are joining with us to make our voices heard.
Please take a few moments to make your voice heard.
- Print the one-page card from www.jewishcommunityaction.org.
- Sign the card with your name, home city, and state. Optional: add a personal message.
- Fold card into quarters and seal with tape.
- Add $0.44 postage and mail ASAP, but no later than Sukkot (early October).
- Please send Jewish Community Action an email letting us know that you have sent it, and be sure to encourage your family, friends, and congregants to do the same. Email [email protected], or call 651-632-2184.
Jewish Community Action is a membership organization that engages local Jewish people in addressing the root causes of economic and racial injustice, in alliance with religious communities, communities of color, and immigrant communities in Minnesota and beyond. Go to www.jewishcommunityaction.org to:
- Learn more about Jewish Community Action’s local leadership of Hekhsher Tzedek, a national initiative of the Conservative movement in Judaism to improve the working conditions, treatment of employees, environmental standards, and business practices in kosher food-production.
- Read more about Jewish Community Action’s decade-long support for immigrant rights, including our work to support the people of Postville affected by harsh working conditions at that town’s meatpacking plant as well as the calamitous 2008 immigration raid.
- Get involved with Jewish Community Action through Indie Jews or through any one of our congregational organizing initiatives or social justice campaigns.