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Ultra-Orthodox kosher certification body becomes commercial giant

The extreme ultra-Orthodox Badatz kosher certification has become a giant commercial body much courted by big food-production companies.
Badatz kosher-certification supervisors at work, February 2022.

Rabbi Naftali Halberstam passed away Feb. 18. Surprisingly, the news about the death of the 94-year-old rabbi aroused interest also outside of the ultra-Orthodox community. In fact, several big food companies and consortiums publicized condolence ads in ultra-Orthodox newspapers. More so, the CEOs of these and other food producers and big companies even made condolence visits in the modest apartment in which the rabbi lived.

Rabbi Halberstam was one of the leading figures of the Jerusalem Eida Hareidis sect, considered the most extreme ultra-Orthodox court in Israel. It does not recognize the Israeli secular government, does not participate in elections, and its institutions abstain from receiving government money. So what was the connection between the rabbi and the high-placed members of Israeli industry? 

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