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Approximately 21% of American Jews keep kosher homes. These Jews keep kosher year round, not just during Passover (there are additional rules to be kept during Passover). A small portion of that 21% eats non-kosher out side of the home, like when on vacation or visiting a non-kosher friend.

Contradictory to popular belief, food is not made Kosher by a Rabbi blessing the food, not is kosher a style of food or cooking. There can be Chinese Kosher or Italian Kosher food as long as the food is prepared in accordance to the kosher rules. Kosher is a form of food preparation that follows the rules set out in the Torah.

Many restaurants advertise kosher style food. This generally means this establishment serves traditional Jewish style food, but that their food is actually kosher certified.

Most of the kosher rules have no explanations. Orthodox or reformed Jews follow them simply because the Torah says so. Eating and living Kosher is a day-to-day reminder of being a Jew and living lifestyle separate from that of the world.However, some people believe that there are additional health benefits to eating kosher. Separating meat and dairy may lead to better digestion and refraining from eating blood vessels and certain nerves can lead to better quality, cleaner meat. There could also be environmental benefits to eating kosher. For instance, the Torah puts camel and pig on the “unclean” list. There is not a substantial chemical difference between camel or pig meat, and that of a cow or goat, but a camel is worth more as a transportation service than as a food source.

Traditional Ashkenazic Jewish foods like knishes (a filling surrounded by dough and baked), bagels, blintzes (similar to a thin pancake or crepe, but unlike in crepes, yeast is used), and matzo ball soup (a chicken soup) can be non-kosher if prepared incorrectly.

Ashkenazic Jews (also known as Ashkenazi Jews) are the people that descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine River in Germany. The name originates from the medieval Jewish name for this region.) Today Ashkenazi is a kind of pronunciation of Biblical Hebrew favored for liturgical use. Today Ashkenazic Jewish food is widely considered the food that is the most kosher and most Jewish.

Up next… the kosher rules!

Day 1:

Day one is a success. I managed to spend a day out with 4 kids and 4 adults and keep Kosher even though everyone else around me was going treif, or not Kosher (More on this later!)

Brealfast:  Coffee! ( I haven’t specifically checked, but Please tell me Coffee is Kosher… If it’s not… I’m already off to a sad start)

Lunch: Subway Flat bread Sandwitch (Turkey, Spinach, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Tomato, Green Peppers, and NO cheese). This was a HUGE decision. I absolutely adore cheese, but since there was already meet on my sandwich, I couldn’t add the delicious dairy substance that I love so much. I could have gone for a veggie and cheese sandwich, but I feet in need to meat) with Sun Chips and Iced Tea. Not the most filling sandwich I’ve ever had, but not too terrible

Dinner: Steak burger (burger cooked in steak sauce with sauteed onions and mushrooms on top) Once again, I had to pass up on the deliciousness of cheese. Normally a little provolone would have held the whole thing together, but not today. I was a good girl and passed up on the dairy. I could have waited a minimum of 50 minutes after eating the burger, and than eaten the cheese, but at that point, it was a gelatinous off white pile of goop on the corner of my plate, and the desire for dairy was gone.

Conclusion: If nothing else, being Kosher will help me to eat less cheese. Gone are the days of tuna melts. Here are the days of veggie subs. Trade off… not quite sure if it’s a fair one.

Treif is a modern word meaning food that is the opposite of Kosher. It comes from the Hebrew word “Trēfáh” meaning torn, referring to meat that has been torn when an animal kills another animal, when an animal has been killed with a blunt knife, thus feeling pain (a no no for Kosher eating) or when an animal has been determined to have a defect, thus being unfit for slaughter as according to Kashrut (The Jewish dietary laws). Originally this word refereed just to meat, but today it is used in reference to all food that is not Kosher.

 

 

Today I officially start eating Kosher. Today is the day that I give up cheeseburgers, my mum’s turkey casserole, and putting cheese on my chicken salad sandwiches. From this point forward, I will be known as kosher.

Ok, well I really won’t be known as Kosher, I’ll most likely still be called Julianna (that is my name after all) but I will be EATING kosher. I’m going to commit to 6 months of following all the kosher rules of eating.

This blog will be my journey into the world of eating kosher. I’m going to research just what being kosher means, the history of where and why it started, the heath benefits (if there are any), and maybe even add some tasty recipes. I want to take you along with me on my new eating adventure so you can learn about being Kosher and what it’s like. You might laugh at some of my posts (hopefully no one cries) and you might frown. But what ever you do don’t eat those marshmallows!

WHY: I have friends that are vegan and vegetarian. Some that are Coeliac, lactose intolerant, have immune and liver problems, and some that are just plain picky. I know people who can’t eat this, or wont eat that, but I don’t have any Hasidic Jewish friends who strictly eat Kosher. I have Jewish relatives, but they eat the same things I do, and where’s the fun in that? So, I want to be Kosher. I want to experiment in the realm of the Kosher world. I want to see why people do it, how hard it is, if it actually tastes good, and if it’s worth anything other than religious observance.

In the past I’ve considered giving my diet a label simply for the fun of it, but I could not be a vegetarian and definitely not a vegan, and since I do enjoy gluten and milk, I’m left with limited options.  I’ve always been interested in the massive variety of life styles found in people all over the world. When I was in elementary school I wanted to be Amish and when I was in middle school I desperately wanted a friend who wore a yamaka.

I never got that friend with a yamaka. I grew up, saw different life styles, but always remained intrigued with Hasidic Judaism. The kind with where the guys have curls at their temples and the 4 tassels peeping out from beneath their black jackets. Where the women have long hair and head scarves, and make matzah ball soup for lunch and challah on special occasions. The kind where the people take being Jewish seriously and let it affect every part of their lives. I want to learn about these people who are passionate about serving Yahweh, even when it means so drastically setting themselves apart from most of humanity. Anyone that takes life so seriously has something to teach others and I want to lean.

So, I’m going to eat Jewish. 6 whole long months of not mixing my dairy and my meat, of not eating bacon or crustaceans, and of trying to understand why anyone would be Jewish. Here I go! Off on a wild Kosher Adventure!

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