ATLANTA (CN) – Georgia has no business trying to regulate what food is kosher, a rabbi claims in Fulton County Superior Court. Rabbi Shalom Lewis says different Jewish communities have different opinions about what foods are kosher, and Gov. Sonny Perdue, his attorney general, and state agriculture commissioner have no say in the matter.
Rabbi Lewis supervises preparation of kosher foods at Etz Chaim Congregation. He says Georgia’s Kosher Food Labeling Act violates the federal and state constitutions.
The Act requires that kosher foods be in accordance with “orthodox Hebrew religious rules and requirements,” according to the complaint
Lewis is a conservative, not an orthodox, rabbi. He says he “fears that the Georgia Kosher Laws will be enforced against him, which would irreparably damage his reputation, subject him and his congregation to criminal charges and fines and impair the exercise of his religion.”
Some Jewish communities prohibit eating swordfish and sturgeon or foods that contain animal gelatin (often used in marshmallows) or rennet (frequently used in making cheese). But some don’t.
Jewish communities also have differing opinions about dairy products and wines. Lewis says that “whether a food may be certified as kosher is a theological matter and not a legal issue. The term ‘kosher’ as it appears in the Georgia kosher laws, is vague, obscure and ambiguous and wants of any ascertainable standard.”
Lewis is represented by Randy Butterfield with King & Spalding.