Israel’s Supreme Court decided yesterday that the Israeli Chief Rabbinate was wrong to hold a messianic Jewish baker to a different standard than it would any other baker when it comes to running a kosher business. The governing precedent, the court said, was a case from the ’80s in which the rabbinate withheld kosher certification from banquet halls that allowed belly dancing. The court held then that belly dancing, ultimately, had nothing to do with kashrut and as such could not play a role in determining an establishment’s kosher status.

The Court’s argument is strikingly similar to ones used by the Orthodox Union, America’s leading kosher certifying agency, in recent debates over whether animal cruelty or mistreatment of workers played a role in the kosher status of meat produced by the Agriprocessors slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa. The O.U., like the Israeli court, took a narrow view of kosher certification, arguing that kosher status has to do with food and food only.

I’d be curious to know, though, what the O.U. thinks of the (secular) Israeli court’s recent ruling. If they’re at all in agreement with Israel’s rabbis, the answer is not much.

Court Declares Jew for Jesus ‘Kosher’ [Jerusalem Post]