On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Georgia filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Kosher Food Labeling Act. The challenged statute indicates that any food sold in Georgia as kosher must be kosher in accordance with "orthodox Hebrew religious rules and requirements" and officially delegitimizes different interpretations of kosher adhered to in other Jewish communities.
An ACLU press release said the lawsuit was filed in Fulton County Superior Court on behalf of Shalom Lewis, rabbi of Congregation Etz Chalm in Cobb County who, as a conservative Jew, is unable to fulfill his rabbinical duties because his theological interpretation of kosher differs from that of Orthodox Judaism.
"I don't want to have to choose between abiding by state law and practicing my religion according to my beliefs," said Lewis. "It is unfortunate that non-orthodox rabbis in Georgia must make the moral and ethical decision to risk legal prosecution in order to fulfill their rabbinical duties."
One of the most vital services that Lewis provides to his congregants as their rabbi is serving as their mashgiach, the Hebrew term for a person who supervises any type of food service establishment to ensure that food is acceptably kosher.