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Georgia Fixes Kosher Law

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May 21, 2010

Last August, we told you about a lawsuit we filed (PDF) against Georgia’s unconstitutional Kosher Food Labeling Act (KFLA), which required that any food sold as kosher had to meet the guidelines of the “Orthodox Hebrew religious rules and requirements.” The KFLA was fine if you’re an Orthodox Jew, but discriminated against non-Orthodox Jewish communities by requiring adherence to Orthodox kosher standards.

By endorsing Orthodox standards, the KFLA effectively delegitimized alternative interpretations of kosher adhered to in other Jewish communities.

Today, we’re happy to announce that Georgia Gov. Sunny Perdue signed into law House Bill 1345, rectifying this problem with the KFLA. The new law mandates that consumers are fully informed about the standards under which any kosher food product was certified as kosher. This also means that our lead plaintiff, Rabbi Shalom Lewis of the non-Orthodox Congregation Etz Chaim in Cobb County, can now lawfully fulfill his rabbinical duties to supervise food establishments’ kosher certification.

Debbie Seagraves, Executive Director of the ACLU of Georgia, said in statement today: “The state legislature did the right thing by making clear that the power to define what is religiously acceptable should never rest with the government. These are personal religious decisions.”

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