Launched by Uri L’Tzedek, the Tav HaYosher is a local, grassroots initiative to bring workers, restaurant owners and community members together to create just workplaces in kosher restaurants.
Rav Yosef Breuer, one of the leading figures of 20th century Orthodoxy, famously stated: “Kosher” is intimately related to “Yoshor.” God’s Torah not only demands the observance of Kashruth and the sanctification of our physical enjoyment; it also insists on the sanctification of our social relationships. This requires the strict application of the tenets of justice and righteousness, which avoid even the slightest trace of dishonesty in our business dealings and personal life.
Recent studies have revealed widespread abuse and exploitation of workers in the New York restaurant industry. Thousands of workers are paid below minimum wage. Even more are denied their legal rights to overtime pay and time off. Workers are often subjected to unsafe and abusive working conditions. Given recent events in the kashrut industry, it is imperative that we implement a system that will prevent abuse and exploitation. It is critical we stand up for tzedek and mishpat as a Jewish community! We must ensure these abuses are not taking place in kosher restaurants. Tav HaYosher is an opportunity to harness some of the power and influence we have as an observant community to strengthen tzedek in our world and create a true Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of G-d’s name).
We are inspired in this work by our friends and allies at B’Maaglei Tzedek and their hugely successful Tav Chevrati campaign, which has earned tremendous support from Israeli rabbis, including Rav Aharon Lichtenstein. We look to their program as a model for our future growth.