Kraft Kosher

Sunday, June 17, 2007

An Update to the End

A number of newsworthy incidents have occurred over the last year, but unfortunately I haven't been able to commit the time neccesary to record them all.

However, I made a serious effort to escalate my desire to see more products become Kosher. I wrote a note up for the President of the North American Unit, asking if Kraft would be open to alternative arrangements for making their products available to the Kosher market, where costs might be too high to accomodate reformulating the product. I had in mind the possibility of producing special limited runs which could be distributed separately or licensing the recipes to those willing to third parties to produce and distribute. Seemingly growing practices at other food companies.

The answer I received? Kraft is constantly looking for new ways to penetrate new markets with an eye on costs and quality. Gee, I didn't think they were trying to grow their business. I should have realized they've thought of everything!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

To the Top!

I'm not alone any more! Well, maybe down here...

Last week, a new CEO was named, and, get this, she's not only Jewish, but she keeps Kosher (See last line of article)!

A new era? Will America's favorite brands soon become America's favorite Kosher brands?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Rules of Diversity

I went to a diversity training course today, a requirement for all new hires at the company. Needless to say I was disappointed. They talked a bit about discrimination from a legal standpoint and about how different backgrounds and personalities bring differences, good and bad, to the table. But what they didn't talk about is how to actually understand different backgrounds. They didn't tell us some unique needs of different backgrounds, or how to sense those needs. While they told us how to react to the illegal issues, they didn't guide us in what is appropriate about including others. We didn't cover whether private lives are best unexplored by coworkers, or discuss how to make people feel more included.

An example from the course that I feel sums it up: After the training was completed, they served lunch to the group. Nobody asked me if I needed a special meal. If you're diversity training isn't going to go out of its way to include everybody, then how do you expect every employee to reach out?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Eat This!

I was talking about the rules of Kosher with a group of co-workers. They just wanted to know the basics, what is allowed, what isn't, and why. One of the things they kept asking about was other than certain forbidden foods, why were there restrictions on how it was cooked. I tried steering around the question a bit, but eventually I just said the truth - that some of the rules are meant to prevent Jews from mingling with non-Jews.

Was I oversensitive? Is that a big deal? Should I not worry about the "elitist" overtones of the Halacha? Or perhaps I don't even know the Halacha properly, and there are other reasons why we have these rules of Bishul Akum.

If I want to make a Kiddush Hashem, how do I convey the beauty of Halacha without sounding apologetic?

Friday, March 31, 2006

Bar Fly?

Dilemma yesterday. There was a social function for our department in a bar after work. It was clearly optional, clearly not work related, so I didn't have to go. However, the representative council of our department was having elections at the event, and I was running. If I didn't go, I couldn't win.

Let me give some background. I don't think going into a bar is assur, forbidden for a Jew. It's not like going into a non-Kosher restaurant, where your presence might imply that the food is kosher when it is not, as most alcoholic beverages are indeed kosher. However, I do think that patronizing bars is antithetical to a frum Jewish lifestyle. We believe that our lives have a purpose, an ever rising path towards meeting our Creator. Bars are the perfect example of ignoring that higher call - Killing time finding joy in the drink, to forget the potential that you are not acheiving. Also, drunkenness and the removing inhibitions conflicts with my understanding that a person's character should always be consistent. You shouldn't require inebriation to act correctly, and you shouldn't use your tipsiness as your excuse to escape appropriateness.

That all being said, I went to the event. No word yet on the election. Needless to say I was uncomfortable. I didn't drink anything, and made a point of it. However, the greater question was, maybe I should have just stayed home. I didn't need to run for election to any positions. But this runs contrary to my philosophy that a frum Jew need not hide in Kollel in Jerusalem to fullfill his spiritual destiny. But where is that line? I've always maintained that you can go out into any situation, and as long as you are armed with your ideals, you can thrive no matter how dispersed you are in a world of other values. But a bar?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Office Romances

Get this latest water cooler gossip. One of my co-workers comes over to me after a meeting, and asks me if it's true that I have a crush on another specific coworker.

How great is that? I'm now the subject of celebrity speculation. This could really promote me as a hearthrob.

But I wonder how this reflects on me as a religious guy. You know, being a sex object doesn't flow naturally with the uniform.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Finding My Place

I usually don't pray on site, successfully making it to a Minyan either at shul or at another office building. But sometimes the stars don't align, and I'm forced to make do in my office before the prayer time elapses. Since I have a cubicle, there isn't much privacy in my own territory. In the past, I've either prayed in my boss' office or used Kraft's room reservation service to book a conference room. However, today the system was down. I took another track, and asked the Muslim guy down the hall what he does. I've noticed him lately carrying a rolled up cloth under his arm, which I figured was his prayer rug. It was, and he pointed me towards a row of empty offices, which turned out perfect for my needs. He was actually very happy to share this information, and more importantly, seemed happy to share in such concerns. I'll admit, it's nice to find somebody who shares in my same religious dilemmas.

This is exactly the type of reason why I think Kraft could benefit from a Religious Diversity Council, and this is just the type of relationship that I think could make it happen.