Editor's note: Since 2004, Shmuel Herzfeld has been the Rabbi of Ohev Sholom – The National Synagogue, the oldest and largest Orthodox synagogue in Washington, D.C. His first book will be published within a year, titled: The Relevance of the Torah for our Modern Lives.
The lower house of the Dutch parliament recently passed legislation that would ban ritual slaughter in accordance with both Jewish law, known as shechita, and Muslim law, known as halal. The legislation would require the stunning of animals before their slaughter, an act that is forbidden by Jewish law.
For Jews, this is a very emotional issue that cuts at the core of who we are.
We know that it often masquerades as a concern for a more humane treatment of animals, but in reality, it is just a smokescreen for old-fashioned bigotry.
Indeed, in 1933, one of the first edicts of Nazi Germany was to ban shechita as inhumane. We know that banning a fundamental ritual of our religion sends the message that our entire religion is unwelcome in that country.
By saying that the food that one is required to eat may not be prepared in the country, the Dutch parliament is in effect saying to the Jewish people that we Jews are not welcome in their country.
Previously - Ritual slaughter explained