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Al Gore   Letter 08   12-Sep-2000   Please ask Joe Lieberman about kosher certification
"Is Joe Lieberman's keeping kosher a matter of religious observance, or is it participation in a conspiracy to impose a secret tax on the American consumer?" Lubomyr Prytulak
September 12, 2000

Al Gore, Vice President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC    20500


Al Gore:

I expect that you are familiar with the sentiment "No taxation without representation," and that as it is one of the sentiments which inspired the founding of the United States, that you will sympathize with it.  If so, then I expect that you will not think it a radical proposal that this sentiment should apply today, in that Americans should be informed of all occasions on which they are taxed, and informed as well what that tax amounts to.

What I am thinking of is the rabbinical kosher surcharge which is applied to a broad range of supermarket products, just how broad being reflected in my own experience, which is as follows.  Around 14-Dec-1999, I would have guessed that the number of products in my house that bore kosher certification was zero, but when I acquainted myself with kosher-certification labelling and actually made a count, I found that the number was in reality 90, and discovered further that in the ensuing four months, the accumulation of kosher-certified product brands in my home totalled 156.  You can find documentation of my experience at www.ukar.org/tax02.html.

Consumers all over Canada and the United States undoubtedly purchase kosher-certified products in similar quantities, and are as unaware as I once was that they do so, and would be similarly surprised, if they made a count, at how frequently they do so.

Furthermore, when I made attempts to find out what all this kosher certification was costing me as I did, for example, in my letter of 15-Mar-2000 to Moshe Ronen, National President of the Canadian Jewish Congress (see www.ukar.org/ronen01.html) I ran into a wall of silence.

Questions relating to this seeming instance of taxation without representation may be ones that Joe Lieberman, as a kosher-keeping Orthodox Jew, will be able to answer, and I invite you to request him to do so.  Specifically:

Is Joe Lieberman on the side of truth in labelling in which kosher-certified products would be identified with the word "kosher" and the Magen David, or does he favor the status quo in which esoteric labelling leaves the vast majority of Americans in the dark concerning the extent to which their household purchases have been kosher certified?

Is Joe Lieberman in agreement that Americans have a right to know what kosher certification is costing them, or does he favor the status quo in which they do not know, and have no way of finding out?

Is Joe Lieberman's keeping kosher a matter of religious observance, or is it participation in a conspiracy to impose a secret tax on the American consumer?



Lubomyr Prytulak


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