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KASHRUS MAGAZINE
May 2018
5778-2018 Passover Guide
May 2018
Plus: Pesach Hotels, Oven Alert, Is Shechita Cruel?

Beware Of “Partial” Sabbath Mode Ovens -

The Sabbath Mode feature on appliances has been the subject of much debate. Whether and how it can help a Shomer Shabbos warm foods on Shabbos and Yom Tov has been debated for years and was discussed in KASHRUS several years ago. The focus of this article is just public awareness of the limitation of some Sabbath Modes to protect consumers from obvious chilul Shabbos by turning on the light even when the Sabbath Mode is operating.
The call was most alarming. “Rabbi Wikler, I bought an oven with a Sabbath Mode, set it, and then, when Shabbos came, I opened the door and the light went on. I have spent over $1,000 only to break Shabbos.”
I didn’t understand why that should be, but the caller continued.
“We complained to the manufacturer and they said that this was their Sabbath Mode. It shuts off some of the circuitry, but the light is not attached to that part of the circuit and so it does not shut down. We can remove the bulb each time we use it for Shabbos or we can push a button on the panel to keep the light on constantly.”
I commented that that didn’t sound so bad, not the removing the bulb idea but the part of pushing a button to keep the light on; that was surely doable.
“Yes, but, I don’t want this machine any more. I broke Shabbos because of it. And, anyway, it is not right to call something a Sabbath Mode and charge so much for the oven — I could have bought one for less than half the price that I paid — and it doesn’t do what a Sabbath Mode is supposed to do. I’ve had Sabbath Modes in my ovens for years. Also, I don’t want others to make the same mistake. Let GE stop calling it a Sabbath Mode on this model and others that don’t take care of the light. That will stop people from breaking Shabbos.”
To add insult to injury, GE refuses to refund the purchaser's money.
I started thinking and did a bit of research and here is what I learned.
It is true that the GE company, makers of the model JGB700, a gas 30 inch freestanding range, does not claim that the Sabbath Mode disengages the light for Shabbos, but our caller had no idea when they purchased it. He bought their oven from a frum salesman at an appliance company. Being as he had owned Sabbath Mode ovens before, therefore he never read the instructions.
Our caller is not alone. I found a serious number of people who have been “surprised” to learn that their GE oven has a light that will turn on when the oven door was opened even in Sabbath Mode. One woman left the oven light on all Shabbos to eliminate turning it on. It burnt out and she decided not to replace it so she would no longer have to worry about it.
The expectation of most people is that a Sabbath Mode, at a minimum takes care of these two needs of the owner: it will not allow the machine to shut off all Shabbos (i.e., it will bypass the machine’s normal shutoff time) and it will disengage the light and fan, etc., allowing one to open and close the oven during Shabbos.
Most people need a more dramatic warning about this variation in the Sabbath Mode than to be reminded to read the instruction manual which they do not have until the machine is delivered. They cannot decide on the choice of model when purchasing based upon what it says in the owner’s guide. [I know full well that today you can find a manual on line — not every one does internet — and who would have thought that the GE has this limitation.]
To add to the confusion, not all GE models have this limitation to their Sabbath Mode; it varies from model to model. More confusing is this statement about their Sabbath Mode: “If opening the oven door turns on an oven light, the bulb should either be removed before the Sabbath or Holiday or the light should be turned on at the control panel and left on for the entire Sabbath or Holiday.” [This wording itself threw me into a tizzy: “If opening the door turns on an oven light ...” This wording was for a particular model. Does that mean that sometimes the light will go on and sometimes not? If so, then no one is ever protected and anyone can err in thinking that his Sabbath mode does work when it does not. I remain confused. Needless to say, we reported this confusing wording to those in charge.]
In 2018, many people turn to Wikipedia, an online “encyclopedia,” the Encyclopedia Britannica of our age. Here is some of what they have to say.
“Sabbath Mode, also known as Shabbat (Shabbos) Mode, is a feature in many modern home appliances, including ovens and refrigerators, which is intended to allow the appliances to be used (subject to various constraints) by Shabbat-observant Jews on the Shabbat and Jewish holidays. The mode usually overrides the usual, everyday operation of the electrical appliance and makes the operation of the appliance comply with the rules of halacha (Jewish law).
“When an oven is in Shabbat mode, the standard six- or twelve-hour automatic shutoff is overridden, and all lights and displays (for example, a light that might go on when the door is opened) are disabled. However, a number of manufacturers have not dealt with the issues caused by the heating elements and the thermostats, which in some Sabbath modes continue to operate as normal, which is in contradiction to normative halachic opinion.”
So, even Wikipedia mistakenly takes it for “a given” that Sabbath modes do take care of the lights. [Why don’t they read the GE manual? It must be that they never bought a JGB700.]
Okay, Wikipedia is not Jewish although whoever wrote that piece obviously was. Here is a quote from a major Jewish organization’s website, one which is very active in kashrus. See how they present the topic.
“The primary function of the Sabbath mode is to override the following features of modern ovens that conflict with the needs of a kosher home, including:
Auto shutoff which shuts off the oven after 12 or 24 hours to conserve energy and/or prevent fires.
Lights and signals that go on or off when one opens the door, food finishes cooking, the temperature is adjusted etc.”
So, it is the primary feature of the Sabbath mode to override the lights, GE doesn’t do it (on select models), and it is no one’s fault but the consumer that he/she did not read the manual before he/she buys the appliance. Now I get it.
This must stop. GE has a Sabbath Mode on other appliances it manufactures which turns off the light. It is time to get standardized.
In 2012, Dr. Robert Harris, a Shomer Shabbos neonatologist in West Hartford, CT, challenged GE on their “Sabbath Mode” oven. It was not the oven he thought that he was getting, nor is it one that he wanted. Dr. Harris felt betrayed by General Electric for telling him the oven's Sabbath mode complied with the needs of Jews observing Shabbos.
Dr. Harris tried to make his point to General Electric, but he could not find anyone knowledgeable about the Sabbath mode. Finally, GE sent a technician to Dr. Harris’ home.
“The technician had less knowledge than I did about the Sabbath mode,” Harris wrote in a letter to GE, “thanked me for educating him, and then asked me to pay him.”
The store wouldn't take the stove back. GE wouldn't either. General Electric insisted the oven had the Sabbath mode, and “that all of its Sabbath-mode ranges work the same.”
“We believe we comply with what the Sabbath mode should accomplish,” said GE spokeswoman Kim Freeman. “It may not meet his particular needs, but ... we have done our job.”
As long as GE’s Sabbath Mode is not more unified, especially in its primary functions, and Shomer Shabbos Jews continue to be confused, we don’t agree that GE is doing its job. Do you?
Let GE hear from you. You can reach them at 1-877-207-0923, 1-800-626-2005, GE Appliances Consumer Relations, PO Box 1780, Rapid City, SD 57709. If GE changes this “Partial” Sabbath Mode to a real one, you will have prevented much chilul Shabbos.

The Truth — Is Shechita Cruel? -

We will continue to eat kosher despite what the world will claim about shechita. But, bottom line, is it cruel? Are we, out of necessity, mistreating the animals and fowl during the shechita process?
Unfortunately, when “fake news” is repeated often, many capitulate and “accept” the news as real. (How can 60,000,000 Frenchmen be wrong?)
The famous Hebrew essayist, Achad Ha’am (Asher Zvi Hirsch Ginsberg), once wrote an essay entitled, “Chatzi Nechama” (Partial Comfort). He retold the horrid claims being made all over the world that Jews killed Christians to use their blood. He offered his readers the ‘partial consolation’ that never ever was even one of the libelous claims true. It never happened, never.
Our holy service of shechita has been maligned daily in countries across Europe, most recently in England. We should take consolation that it is all fake news, without one ounce of truth in it.
Veterinarians, animal welfare groups, political radicalists, and groups that are anti-Jew and anti-Moslem have banded together to apply pressure on the government to directly or indirectly ban kosher and halal slaughter despite our religious rights.
There is no nice way of killing an animal for food, but shechita is performed in the best possible way to minimize pain to the animal. In addition, our laws of tzaar baalei chaim control our handling of animals and birds before they are slaughtered, which makes us far more caring than those who do secular slaughter of animals. Here are a few examples of the difference.
In Europe today, it is acceptable policy to slaughter meat for the secular community by that which is called “controlled-atmosphere killing” (CAK) which takes up to 15 minutes to suffocate animals, and 9 minutes for chickens, and that barbaric method of slaughter is classed as humane and approved by the RSPCA/BVA, those who are so bent on outlawing shechita. Compare that to the 15 seconds it takes for lamb and sheep to die after shechita.
You won’t believe this next one, unless you personally check it out. In the U.S and in the UK, baby male chicks in the millions are killed every week using a grinder. (In 2016, the U.S. accepted to change their policy, and so, as of 2020, it will be illegal to kill those male chicks in that manner). Have you ever heard of a boycott of this practice? This removal of male chicks is being called “culling.”
Why do they do that to so many baby male chicks? Egg farmers don’t sell their chicks to be raised for meat, because in industrial agriculture, the breeds of chickens raised for meat (“broilers”) and for egg production (“egg layers”) are totally different.
Egg layers are bred to be egg-laying machines who can pump out hundreds of eggs each year. Broilers are bred to be grotesquely large, growing to a huge size within one month. The male of the egg laying breed is too small to be profitable to raise for meat and unable to lay eggs, so out they go.
What will take place in 2020 is that the eggs will be examined to see if it is a male or female, and the male eggs will be sold as eggs.
So, next time you read an article in a secular paper describing the non-stun slaughter of kosher as inhumane and cruel, realize that it is just Fake News.

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