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Passover Price Gouging
Rabbinical Council of America Warns of Passover Price Gouging, Stringencies
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Mar 14, 1997 -- In advance of the Passover holidays, the Ethics Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America has called on its membership and the public to resist any excessive price increase and the promulgation of stringencies that extend far beyond halachic (Jewish law) requirements.

Rabbi Bernard Freundel of Washington, DC, has stated that such violations of Jewish ethical and religious standards "drive borderline consumers away and, because of these practices make Kashruth and the entire religious enterprise appear to be unethical and unseemly."

The Committee listed religious and ethical reasons for prohibiting price gouging. Prohibitions on excessive profits and deception are among the religious reasons cited. Price gouging may be a violation of state and federal laws. "The entire Orthodox community is shamed when questionable, unethical, and illegal practices are made public," he stated.

The promulgation of stringencies were condemned because they add additional financial burdens on the Jewish consumer. Unnecessary stringencies are divisive. He added, "they foster an atmosphere of cynicism that no standards are ever good enough."

Rabbi Rafael G. Grossman, president of the Rabbinical Council of America, called on the public, the manufacturers of kosher products, wholesales and retailers to adhere to ethical practices. He urged those who grant Kashruth endorsements to include compliance with all halachic norms as part of the qualifications for certification and called for removal of such certification for proven violations.

The Rabbinical Council of America is the world's largest body of Orthodox Rabbis serving communities throughout the world with its headquarters in New York and Jerusalem.

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