WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT KEEPING KOSHER? 
   



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WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT KEEPING KOSHER?

  • It's a core part of traditional Judaism;
  • Therefore it links you with other Jews - past generations, today and tomorrow's generation;
  • The laws for Kashrut begin with the Torah commandment to not boil the meat of the kid in the milk of the mother;
  • Eating only Kosher meat promotes compassion for animals - that they should be killed in a humane manner, that their suffering should be minimal; these laws contain the idea that you "are what you eat" in a very profound way;
  • It's part of a declaration from you that you are - heart and soul - a Jew and it reminds you - with every bite you eat - that you are a Jew;
  • It reminds you that your household is Jewish, that it meets the standards for other Jews to eat there; It says that there's something SPECIAL about your home;
  • It communicates to your kids that you VALUE your Judaism - Jewish traditions and ideals - and you want to pass Jewish values on to future generations through them;
  • It's a discipline that comes to have more and more meaning as you do it;
  • It's not that hard!

What are the laws of Kashrut?

[Note:  We are NOT a Rabbi.  A Rabbi is the only person truly qualified to answer questions about Kashrut.  We're just giving you some of the minimal BASICS here with which to get started.  Consult a Rabbi for further - expert - information - or go to www.OU.org - they will answer your Kashrut questions. ]

The very basics are these:  (Naturally, this being Judaism, there are many additional details.  However, you need not concern yourself with those further details at first because this is only the first step in a process - it takes a while...)

  • You may eat only certain meats that meet Torah-defined laws:  The animal must be a quadro-ped that: a) chews it's cud - (such as a cow); and b) must have split hooves (such as a lamb) and c) must be "schect" - killed according to the laws of Kashrut (compassionately, quickly, with a sharp, unblemished knife, supervised by an authorized butcher, etc.)  Meats that are Kosher are clearly marked with a Hechsher - a sign.  If it's not marked Kosher by a recognized authority - basically, it ain't. 
  • You may not eat certain foods such as: Pork in any form whatsoever - or any seafood in a shell - such as lobster, clams, shrimp or scallops - or insects! - (except those actually mentioned as being acceptable in the Torah!);
  • You must never mix meat and milk ("Thou shalt not boil the meat of the kid in the milk of its mother.")  (Chicken counts as meat, by the way.) 
  • Most Kosher animals are NOT animals that prey on other animals.  Better not to "incorporate" their characteristics into our systems!

Jews who keep Kosher have two sets of dishes and pots and pans (and cooking implements and eating utensils) - one set for dairy (milkich, in Yiddish) and one set for meat (fleischig).  This is so that the two categories (meat vs. milk) are kept STRICTLY SEPARATED - never the twain to meet! 

  • You do not allow non-Kosher meat into your house. 
  • You  never eat a meat meal on your dairy dishes - or vice versa. 

Because it's so complex - and infuses every area of your life, pretty much, very few people move into Kashrut quickly - it's just too big a subject - too big a change.  Take your time - do it one small step at a time....

Here is our plan for ENTERING the world of Kashrut - step by step - starting with just some of the basics:

1.  Give up Pork.  This is actually pretty easy in our opinion.  Chicken is similar to pork in taste, so it's really not a big deal to give up pork at all, as we say, in our opinion.  Here's the one hard part for many:  giving up BACON. 

Well, guess what?  There's a great substitute for bacon that really, REALLY tastes JUST AS GOOD.  And that is Hebrew National Kosher Salami SLICED - you know, comes in a plastic pack like bologna.  When you fry it up, just like you would ba-c-n, it literally tastes every bit as yummy as - you know what.... and you can use it exactly the same way.  For instance, a BLT becomes an "SLT" - and I assure you it's every bit as delicious.  (Honestly - it's one of my most favorite things.)

2.  Start becoming aware of separating dairy food from meat dishes.  Let's say at lunch you're going to eat EITHER something with meat in it, no dairy with it - OR something that's dairy, no meat or meat products with it.  This starts to sharpen your awareness. 

[ NOTE:  There is a third category:  Parve - which means the item is neither meat nor dairy.  Parve items are things like: veggies, fruits, nuts, beans, rice, herbs and spices, some breads and crackers, popcorn (so long as there is not butter or milk or other dairy products mixed in), etc.  Fish is also considered parve and it can be eaten at the same meal as meat - but among the observant it is separated from meat by being served in a separate course before the meat and on separate plates, using separate utensils.  You can eat parve items with either milk or meat dishes. ]

3.  When you cook chicken, make it a Kosher chicken.  Many - perhaps most - large supermarkets in America have Kosher chickens in the FROZEN meat cooler.  Kosher chickens can be quite flavorful - and it's nice to know, as you're eating it, that it was killed in a humane manner (quick and painless as possible - according to the ancient laws) and that you're IN THERE with the Jewish people - eating KOSHER food.  Also - turkeys come Kosher - frozen - in the supermarkets, too - so, next Thanksgiving maybe you'll go Kosher for your celebration. 

4.  Stop bringing non-Kosher (treif) food into your home.  Keep your home "pristine" that way.  If you MUST have Chinese food - or other non-Kosher goodies - eat them only OUTSIDE your home.  Eventually, you may start to veer away from that, too - but at first, it can be hard to give up non-Kosher goodies - so start by keeping them out of your (increasingly Kosher) home...

Fish are mostly kosher as is - so long as they have fins and scales.  This rules out all seafood such as mollusks - clams, scallops - also lobster and shrimp. It also rules out Catfish (which doesn't have either fins or scales ) and swordfish - (which doesn't have fins - or is it scales?) - in any case swordfish is not Kosher. Also monkfish is not Kosher.   

5.  Start to notice which packages have a Kosher Hechsher on them.  For instance, foods that have been ok'd by the Orthodox Union, have a small O with a U inside it stamped on the package - signifying that it's been certified A-Ok by them - meaning it's Kosher.  There are other Hechshers too.  Start to notice which packaged foods have them and which don't - and start to become a bit more selective - purchasing foods that DO have Kosher Hechshers.  (It is said among the observant, about any food item that it's either 'OU' or  'Oh, No' - by which it is meant, it must have a recognized Hechsher.)

6.  Purchase a few dishes - or an inexpensive set like at K-Mart or one of the Dollar Stores - to use only for, let's say, Dairy.  Naturally you won't allow anything but DAIRY or Parve to touch these special DAIRY dishes.  

Then, when you're ready, purchase another set just for  meat... (Ultimately you will also require a second set of eating utensils - one for meat, one for dairy - and then there's the pots and pans...  But we suggest taking it ONE SMALL STEP at a time.  You don't want to make it so complicated that you get discouraged...) 

7.  Learn about the laws of Kashrut.  See what's involved with changing your kitchen into a Kosher Kitchen.  Speak to a knowledgeable Rabbi.  At some point, you just might want to take that giant step.... 

SPECIAL NOTE:  YOU COULD ALSO GO VEGGIE if you're so inclined.  That's the easy way to go Kosher - Become vegetarian in your home.  Keep meat and meat products out of your house.  That way you only have to have one set of dishes - one state of mind, so to speak.  Dairy and parve foods can go together - and fish goes with both.  It really simplifies everything - makes life easier.  AND - it's healthier - much healthier...  

These are the basics.  Now you're on your way....  

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SHALOM! WELCOME! (HOME)  |  SPONSOR A KEHILLAH AD!  |  OUR MISSION - OUR PLAN  |  NON-DENOMINATIONAL?  |  THE DEVALUATION OF JUDAISM  |  SHOP KEHILLAH! BOUTIQUE  |  18 REASONS WHY IT'S GREAT TO BE JEWISH  |  18 WAYS TO DEEPEN YOUR JUDAISM  |  THE ONE JEWISH RITUAL FOR YOUR FAMILY...  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT SHABBAT?  |  ADD A BIT OF SHABBAT TO YOUR LIFE - FRIDAY NIGHT  |  ADD A BIT OF SHABBAT TO YOUR LIFE - SATURDAY  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT SYNAGOGUE?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT READING HEBREW?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT KEEPING KOSHER?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT JEWISH PRAYER?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT ISRAEL?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT MARRYING JEWISH?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT ORGANIZED RELIGION?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT "ANCIENT"...  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT PRESERVING JUDAISM?  |  NOT A BELIEVER?  |  THINGS YOU LOVE ABOUT BEING JEWISH  |  YOUR OBJECTIONS - THINGS YOU HATE!  |  ARE YOU A SINGLE PARENT?  |  ARE YOU CREATIVE?  |  ARE YOU "MIXED?"  |  SMALL PLEASURES...  |  GOOD STORIES  |  THE "WOMAN" ISSUE  |  OUR BOLD RADICAL PROPOSAL...  |  ADVERTISE TO EDUCATE!  |  OUR PRO-JUDAISM AD CAMPAIGN  |  KEHILLAH RADIO & TV  |  THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR JUDAISM...  |  JEW VS. JEW  |  PASSOVER - ONE THING YOU CAN DO...  |  Shrek on Judaism!  |  Mel Brooks - On Being a Jew  |  Kirk Douglas: Why Be Jewish?  |  Rabbi Harold Kushner  |  Joe McCain on The Jews & Israel  |  American Presidents and The Jews  |  KEHILLAH is dedicated to...  |  LINKS TO Jewish Organizations, Charities & Websites  |  CONVERSION TO JUDAISM  |  GILLIE'S RECIPES  |  JEWISH HUMOR  |  NY TIMES: BRING BACK SHABBAT! PERSONAL STORY...  |  DO YOU HAVE INSOMNIA?  |  Contact Information  |  YOUR FEEDBACK PLEASE!  |  TO HELP SUPPORT KEHILLAH

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