In my last piece on the UK Kashrut war between Chief Rabbi Adler and the Machzike Hadaas community, we described the eventual compromise that was reached by the two parties, in which the Machizke Hadaas meat came under the umbrella of the Chief Rabbinate but continued to be supervised by the Rabbi of the Machzike Hadaas. The compromise was accepted by the Machzike Hadaas members living in East London, and their shul joined the Federation of Synagogues shortly afterwards.
Yet, as we are all too aware of in any pious dispute, one North London group of Machzike Hadaas members remained steadfast in their objections to the Chief Rabbinate and refused to be taken under their authority. They were to form what ultimately became the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations (UOHC), complete with its own Kashrut authority, Kedassia. All was then quiet for some time.
In 1930, however, the Kashrut wars erupted again when a Parliamentary Slaughter of Animals Bill proposed that animals for Jewish use should be slaughtered by “a Jew licensed for that purpose by the Chief Rabbi” (see illustration).
The UOHC, the Federation and the former Haham of the Sephardi community, Dr Moses Gaster, all objected to being excluded, with the Chief Rabbi being given sole authority to licence shochtim (see illustration).
As with the previous battle and countless rabbinic disputes throughout the ages, pen was put to paper and letters were obtained from abroad on either side of the argument. One note from Rabbi Yitzhak Morgenstern, the famed Kotzker Rebbe, ruled against authority being placed in an officeholder, since even if the present incumbent was suitable, one cannot guarantee the quality of those who would then follow him (see illustration).
Ultimately, as in the previous debate, the dispute needed to be settled quickly, before the Government would begin to look critically at Shechita itself. The compromise reached was to give authority to a Commission, chaired by the Chief Rabbi but with representation from other Orthodox organisations, including the Federation and the UOHC.