Thursday, 7 May 2009

Tav Chevrati


This is the Tav Chevrati, brainwave of Jerusalem based charity Bema'aglei Tzedek (Circles of Justice). The self-styled 'socially Kosher' initiative works like this: Any restaurant that signs up to a uniform code of conduct gets one of these to hang in the shop-front. Essentially, they are promising to (1) treat their workers properly - pay them at least the national minimum wage, on time, and with everything else that the state says employers should give to their workers; and (2) offer reasonable access to people with disabilities.

The Kosher connection is that it is consciously modelled on the Kashrut system - one can make the decision whether or not to eat in a restaurant based upon whether or not they display the Tav. (Of course, you may want to consider the quality of the cuisine too, but that's not the point at the moment.) The system isn't perfect - yet - but has the potential to become a great way for individuals to exercise consumer power in a useful way, to influence important social issues.

Their website is www.mtzedek.org.il, and there is information - as well as a partial list of subscribing restaurants - tucked away somewhere (English, as well as Hebrew). Try it out if you have a chance the next time you go out for a bite - even by simply asking whether a coffeeshop or restaurant is aware of the scheme. I think it's a good thing...

4 comments:

Adam E. said...

Hmmmm! I'd love to know more about this. Like do they have to sign a piece of paper, or are there actual inspections that happen too...
Maybe it is only a matter of time before this scheme goes entirely the way that the kashrut system has, with a whole load of seperate authorities competing for various levels of stringency (e.g. "The owners of this restaurant pay TWICE as much as the minimum wage"), etc, along with companies forging official looking certificates of their own.

Goy said...

They do inspect. My understanding is that the set up is entirely pro-bono - so I doubt that there would be an incentive for competing authorities...

G said...

Thanks for bringing this into the spotlight, Mr Goy.

Sorry to be a defeatist, but the comparison to the Kosher system does not sound promising, at leas not for the Tel-Aviv area. I mean, I work in the Kiryat Atidim business district. Habarzel street alone has 50 restaurants, yet you could starve to death there and not find a kosher place. The benefits of non-kosher just outweigh the business brought in by the 'kosher tav' - and this is with a significant, loyal portion of the population who eats only Kosher.

More effective would be propping up the bodies who support and encourage restaurant (and other) employees to sue their employers for unlawful wagers and employment conditions.

G

Goy said...

Good points, G. That said, the scheme are not *overtly* religious - although it is modelled on a religious percept - and the hope, I understand, is that anyone concerned with the issues that the scheme highlights would consider participating, by trying to eat only in restaurants that subscribe to the Tav.