Last time, I told you a lot about the way the week works in Israel – how the week starts on Sundays, and then retail closes early on a Friday, and this time, I want to tell you a little about Kosher foods. Many people know that Jews are not allowed to eat pork products. That’s a very simplistic summary of a significant part of Judaism – having to consume kosher products. Kosher means “good”, and the Jewish religion has tons of rules about what is good and what is not. For example, Mammals that both chew their cud (ruminate) and have cloven hooves are kosher, but others are not. Fish must have fins and scales to be kosher, but this is just the beginning. Another rule is that meat and dairy must not be consumed together, and this is why Cheeseburgers are not OK for orthodox Jews. This goes even further – not only are you not allowed to eat the two together, you must protect yourself against accidentally eating the combo, so if a pot is used to cook meat, it cannot be used to cook dairy products. Essentially, you can wash it REALLY well, and then use it, but many orthodox families have two sets of dishes, as well as two sinks. Some richer families even have two separate kitchens. Kosher applies to a multitude of other items. For example, an orthodox person would not eat at a restaurant if he is not sure it stands up to the highest standards, as proven by a certificate. To get it, the place has to prove weekly that it keeps dairy away from meat. The certificate can be revoked if the place is open during a Saturday (because no commerce s allowed on the holy day of Sabbath) and so most of the restaurants in Israel are not visited by religious Jews.
Let’s go back to pigs. Pigs are un-kosher and forbidden, but many other animals are in the same position, only less famous. The history books are full of stories about Jews that preferred to die rather than eat pork. Whatever. I’d kill for a good cake, but OTHERS…not myself.
For more info about Kashrut: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashrut