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? 

This unique relation developed over “Badatz,” which is the abbreviation for Bais Din Tzedek (The Court of Justice, in Hebrew). It is an ultra-Orthodox institution offering extra-strict kosher certification. Several ultra-Orthodox communities offer kosher certification. But it is the Badatz kosher symbol that has become over the years an integral part of the food-production industry. Its curly logo is displayed on packages of the most highly rated brands.

The food-production companies know that many ultra-Orthodox families won’t rely on the kosher certification of the state Chief Rabbinate, which they deem not strict enough. If they want to preserve the ultra-Orthodox consumers, they need to feature the Badatz kosher logo.... Read More: Al-Monitor