On the heels of the San Francisco debate over banning the circumcision of baby boys (a key Jewish ritual), the threat to Jews practicing their faith exists Down Under as well.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reports that a combination of “animal welfare groups, Greens, independent lawmakers and some Labor backbenchers” are spearheading a ban on Jewish ritual slaughter, and Australian Jewish leaders are angry at the growing support for the ban.
Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, one of the nation’s foremost authorities on kashrut, chastised proponents of a ban on shechitah, which was triggered by a May 30 investigative documentary into animal slaughter.
“When there is an attempt to ban kosher slaughter, it is for either one of two reasons,” Gutnick told The Australian newspaper. “The first reason is out of ignorance, or the second reason is simply anti-Semitism.”
If implemented, the ban will sentence religious Jews to vegetarianism or importing kosher meat. If not slaughtered in the traditional manner referenced in Deuteronomy and codified in Halakha, meat is considered unkosher.
Outrageously, a Melbourne paper compared kosher slaughter to genital mutilation.
On Sunday, Melbourne’s The Sunday Age newspaper carried a front-page article titled “Outrage grows on ritual killing” as well as an editorial, which concluded that “There are any number of religious and cultural practices, ranging from sharia law to genital mutilation, that are rejected in Australia. Slaughter without stunning should be one of them.”
In response, Danny Lamm, president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, issued a detailed rebuttal Monday, dismissing 10 myths about shechitah.
“Jewish law does not permit pre-stunning and requires that the animal must not be injured or mistreated in any way before it is slaughtered,” he wrote.
Last year, New Zealand tried to follow Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden in banning shechitah, but the government backed down after the Jewish community launched legal action.
Why should you care? “One of the first enactments of the Nazis in 1933 was to outlaw the Jewish method of slaughter,” said Rabbi Yehuda Brodie, registrar of the Manchester Beth Din, in a Wikipedia article on ritual slaughter.