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is Kosher Food?
Foods considered “kosher” are foods that
abide by the Jewish Halakhic laws, which describe foods
permitted to be eaten by members of the Jewish faith
according to statements found in Leviticus 11:1-47.
Food considered “nonkosher” include meat
taken from animals that were not properly (ritualistically)
killed, along with any combination of milk, meat or
grape juice (wine) that was not manufactured according
to Halakhic laws. Additionally, any produce originating
from Israel not tithed is considered nonkosher and unacceptable
according to Jewish laws. Tithing involves removing
slightly more than one percent of the product, throwing
away this portion and reciting specific passages from
Interesting Information about
|While Jewish dietary rules
originated in Deuteronomy 17, Leviticus 11 and
the Torah, rabbinical authorities have re-interpreted
and codified these rules throughout the centuries
to adapt to societal and cultural changes involving
the Jewish people
|Although no clear reasons
exist for kosher laws, many believe they were
influenced by heeding necessary sanitation and
health practices in a time when it was difficult
to avoid eating spoiled or contaminated food.
|Kosher food is not blessed
by rabbis. Food is made kosher by the methods
used in its preparation and cooking. For example,
food considered strictly Jewish such as matzah
ball soup is not automatically kosher until it
has been prepared according to Jewish Halakhic
|The Bible states that rabbit,
pork and seafood not possessing scales or fins
are nonkosher, as is reptiles, insects and all
scavenger birds such as hawks and owls. For meat
to be kosher, it must have been killed in a specific
manner. Animals that die due to an attack from
another animal or from natural causes are not
kosher. Slaughtering animals to produce kosher
meat includes killing them quickly and humanely,
usually by cutting the throat. Creatures with
cloven hooves and chew cud, such as sheep, cattle
and goats, are considered kosher but should be
killed in this manner to remain kosher.
|The Torah states that an
animal needs emptied of blood before it can be
eaten, since the blood is said to contain the
soul. Kosher meat is made by salting, broiling
and soaking, a process that should be done within
72 hours following the killing of the animal.
|All vegetables and fruits
are kosher. However, each fruit or vegetable is
inspected for any worms or insects since the presence
of these bugs would cause the food to be nonkosher.
|Dairy and meat items cannot
be mixed together in recipes or other food dishes.
Jewish people observing the Halakhic laws must
wait three to six hours between eating a meat
item and a dairy item, or vice versa.
|Utensils used to prepare
kosher food must be kosher as well. For example,
cookware used to cook meat cannot be used to cook
milk, eggs, cheese and other dairy foods. However,
this only applies to hot food that involves the
passing of food to kitchen utensil and from kitchen
utensil to food.
Because it is not permissible to mix meat and dairy
products, kosher kitchens always have two sets of dishes
and cooking utensils in addition to two separate counters
for preparing dairy and meat items. This practice originates
from a commandment found in Deuteronomy and Exodus:
“you shall not boil a kid in its mother’s
milk” (Exodus 23:19 and 34:26, Deuteronomy 14:21).