Why Dont Jews Eat Pork?

Why can’t Jews touch pork?

And the pig, because it has a split hoof, but does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. You shall neither eat of their flesh nor touch their carcass.

Why are pigs considered unclean?

Mammals – Mouse Townsend’s big-eared bat According to the Torah, land-dwelling animals that both chew the cud ( ruminate ) and have cloven hooves, are kosher. By these requirements, any land-dwelling animal that is kosher can only possibly be a mammal, but even then, permitted are only those mammals that are placentals and strictly herbivorous (not omnivores nor carnivores) that both ruminate and also have cloven hooves, such as bovines (cattle/cows, bison, buffalos, yak, etc.), sheep, goats, deer, antelope, and technically, also giraffes.

Although the giraffe falls under the kosher category by its characteristics, it does not have a masorah (tradition) for its consumption by any Jewish community. All other mammals, land-dwelling or otherwise, are forbidden by the Torah, including “crawling creatures” such as mice, and flying mammals such as the various species of bats,

Water-bound mammals, such as whales, dolphins, seals, and dugongs, are also not kosher as they do not have the characteristics required of kosher water-bound creatures which must have both fins and scales. Those land-dwelling mammals that have only one of the two characteristics of kosher land-dwellers (only ruminant or only cloven hooved) are impure and cannot be consumed.

  1. By default, therefore, not only are most land-dwelling mammals not kosher, but all land-dwelling non-mammals are also not kosher, including reptiles, amphibians, molluscs (including snails), etc.
  2. Among mammals that Leviticus cites explicitly as an example of unclean is the camel, because it ruminates but does not have a cloven hoof; the hyrax and the hare are also explicitly given as examples of being excluded as kosher on the same grounds.

Quintessentially, the Torah explicitly declares the pig unclean, because it has cloven hooves but does not ruminate,

Are Jews allowed to handle pork?

Orthodox in Israel Pressing for a Ban on Pork (Published 1990) Special to The New York Times Credit. The New York Times Archives See the article in its original context from July 22, 1990, Section 1, Page 6 TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers.

This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems; we are continuing to work to improve these archived versions.

Orthodox politicians are trying to outlaw pork, the most unkosher of foods. It looks as if they may succeed. A bill working its way through Parliament would outlaw nearly all sales and distribution of pork products in Israel. The Likud party and all the other legislators in Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir’s governing coalition seem certain to vote for the so-called bacon bill, though few of the secular politicians actually favor it.

  • But if they vote against the bill, one or more Orthodox parties is likely to leave the coalition, bringing down the Government.
  • The proposal has angered many secular Israelis, even some who acknowledge that although they ignore kosher dietary laws they are still not completely comfortable eating pork.

They see the real issue as another attempt by Orthodox political parties to coerce nonobservant Jews – more than 80 percent of the Jewish population – to live by religious rules. The bill, proposed by five Orthodox Jewish lawmakers in May, is not without precedent.

It would join laws like the national ban on commercial possession or sale of products with yeast at Passover, and the prohibition on flights by the national airline, El Al, on the Jewish sabbath. Jewish and Muslim religious laws prohibit the eating of pork. Muslims are not allowed to own, sell, carry or even touch pigs or pork products, but rabbis say Jewish religious rulings are equivocal on whether Jews are also forbidden to handle pork or raise pigs.

Pork is now sold in nonkosher butchers across Israel and served in restaurants under the name ”white steak.” Still, it is not a popular meat and accounts for just $20 million of the $1 billion spent on Israeli meat products each year. Most pork is consumed in Christian communities or exported.

The proposed law would allow the sale and possession of pork only in Christian communities like Nazareth. But it would ban the sale elsewhere, including in Jerusalem, where 20,000 Christians live. Msgr. Richard Mathes, a Vatican cultural attache and an official of Notre Dame Church in Jerusalem, warned the parliamentary committee considering the bill to ”think this law through” before approving it.

”What about shrimp?” he asked. Shellfish are not kosher, either. ”Now you tell me I can’t eat pork, so people in the Christian community are saying that maybe one day you will prescribe a kosher kitchen for everyone.” ”I can eat very well in a kosher kitchen,” Monsignor Mathes told Parliament.

”If we start with these laws,” he said, ”eventually we’ll end up with a religious state like Saudi Arabia, or even Khomeinism.”The committee has also heard the opposition of pork breeders and dealers, many of whom are Jewish, and from a representative of 1,000 Israeli restaurants that serve pork and a representative of the Kfar Yehoshua collective farm, who said it was $20 million in debt and could only support itself with its pork-processing plant.Many Israelis believe that the pork bill is receiving serious attention only because its passage is one of the demands that Orthodox parties made of Likud when Likud was forming its coalition Government.

A version of this article appears in print on, Section 1, Page 6 of the National edition with the headline: Orthodox in Israel Pressing for a Ban on Pork, | | : Orthodox in Israel Pressing for a Ban on Pork (Published 1990)

Why can’t Jews mix meat and dairy?

Prohibition on mixing dairy products with meat – In Jewish tradition, the prohibition on mixing dairy and meat products has been interpreted in several different ways. Some see it as an implementation of the same principle of separating animals authorised for consumption from those that are forbidden.

Others associate it with the general prohibition on certain mixtures set out in the Torah, such as that of coupling animals from different species. Yet others see it as symbolic: the refusal to mix life (milk) and death (meat). Several rules must therefore be followed to respect the prohibition on cooking and consuming meat products with dairy products.

Traditionally, this separation begins in the kitchen as, in the refrigerator, these products must not come into contact with one other. Similarly, different cooking utensils and dishes are used and are washed and stored separately. For practising Jews, respecting the laws of kashrut and its restrictions makes eating outside the home complicated.

Can Jews eat halal?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The Islamic dietary laws ( halal ) and the Jewish dietary laws ( kashrut ; in English, kosher ) are both quite detailed, and contain both points of similarity and discord. Both are the dietary laws and described in distinct religious texts: an explanation of the Islamic code of law found in the Quran and Sunnah and the Jewish code of laws found in the Torah, Talmud and Shulchan Aruch,

What religions don’t eat pork?

Abstract – Both Judaism and Islam have prohibited eating pork and its products for thousands of years. Scholars have proposed several reasons for the ban to which both religions almost totally adhere. Pork, and the refusal to eat it, possesses powerful cultural baggage for Jews.

  • Israel has legislated two related laws: the Pork Law in 1962, that bans the rearing and slaughter of pigs across the country, and the Meat Law of 1994, prohibiting all imports of nonkosher meats into Israel.
  • While not abounding, Israeli pork-eaters certainly exist, and a small number of pig-breeding farms operate in the country, mostly in Christian villages.

The influx of Russian immigrants in the 1990s helped boost sales of pork, but the force of the taboo remains so powerful that many secular Israelis still eschew pork dishes, while willing to eat less charged nonkosher items such as shellfish. A porchetta feast recently held in the Muslim-Jewish town of Jaffa, defied the religious and cultural taboo.

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Can Muslims eat kosher?

Even with the surge of peace and cooperation in the Middle East, organizers of the first national conference on Muslims and Jews in North America last weekend might have expected problems. Surprisingly – at least to anyone who has tried to cook for clerics who obey food laws – none of these problems involved the menu.

  1. It’s not generally known outside the circles of the preoccupied, but Muslims who can’t get meat slaughtered according to the rules of halal, the Muslim equivalent of the kosher laws, are permitted by most Muslim clerics to eat kosher instead.
  2. Everyone could resort to the ubiquitous tuna fish salad and lox and bagels and pita, anyway.

It was fine,” says A. James Rudin, the American Jewish Committee official who gave the keynote address. “Food is easy for Muslims and Jews.” The rest should only be so easy. It takes a certain willing suspension of disbelief, and also of belief, to expect much from interfaith dialogue projects.

Different religions, after all, reflect serious differences of opinion about the world. And yet interfaith dialogues and “multilogues” these days are in growing vogue, from the popularity of a new book called “A History of God” (written by an ex-nun who now teaches at a rabbinical college and is an honorary member of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists) to the arrival in New York of an opera about the Children of Abraham.

American Jews and American Muslims have come late to these explorations because Mideast politics generated such emotion. Ever since the big handshake on Sept.13, though, people who have been quietly trying to pursue a more religious and cultural Muslim-Jewish detente in this country have found themselves engaged in something quite trendy.

  1. The conference last weekend at the University of Denver’s Institute for Islamic-Judaic Studies benefited from the trendiness.
  2. The event’s organizers, Rudin and Denver professor Seth Ward, have each been dabbling in interfaith efforts for 25 years.
  3. But they were startled by the aura of warmth and good cheer that attended the lectures, and, perhaps more, by the absence of the usual nervous suspicion from their own communities.

“You’re not looking over your shoulder anymore,” says David Zucker, a professor who took part, “and thinking, who am I going to offend?” Zucker, who teaches at Denver’s Japanese-run Teikyo Loretto University, might be considered a specialist in offensiveness.

  • He delivered a paper at the conference on “Roth, Rushdie and Rage: Religious Reactions to ‘Portnoy’ and the ‘Verses.’ ” An audience that could sit still, as this one did, for such a comparison must be awarded points in the struggle for tolerance.
  • The paper attempted to link one of the signal cultural tragedies of recent years – Rushdie’s – with a generation-old argument over Philip Roth’s comic, irreverent and, for the time, shocking portrayal of middle-class Jewish life.

Zucker managed to draw from this unlikely juxtaposition a few contrasts to keep in mind, one being that the many American rabbis who berated Philip Roth for obscenity, antisemitism and damage to Jewish interests were nonetheless from a culture that made them likelier to put up with it.

  1. Today’s Muslims, though their views about the Rushdie fatwa were by no means monolithic, “are from a culture,” says Zucker, “that has spent a lot fewer centuries in Europe.” Food issues may seem trivial by comparison.
  2. But kosher and halal laws were the occasion for one of the first successful Jewish-Muslim political collaborations in postwar Europe, when, a decade ago, animal rights movements in Britain and Scandinavia passed laws that would have made kosher and halal slaughtering illegal.

Joining to battle for an exemption from those laws on freedom-of-religion grounds, the small European Jewish and European Muslim communities formed contacts that have helped in current efforts to combat European racism. In this country’s totally different political environment, food laws nevertheless manage to constitute a significant common interest, notably for the producers of kosher food in America: one-half the market for those products, Ward says, is Muslims demanding halal food in jails.

  1. Food laws reflect a larger force shaping this courtship, one that Middle East acrimony has long obscured: the close kinship of the cultures involved.
  2. The seeming unbridgeable political gulf between American Jews and American Muslims kept many from noticing they come from cognate religious civilizations that, among the observant, still betray a surprising range of resemblance – from food laws to skullcaps to the juridical techniques used for interpreting scripture.

That in turn intensifies what would be true regardless, which is that as minorities these groups often have political interests that overlap. Bosnia was the first high-profile foreign policy example of a domestic alliance that has been quietly noticing the uses of cooperation on such matters as public school prayer and pop-culture stereotypes.

In strictly demographic terms, said conference participant Ihsan Bagby, Muslims in North America have reached about the mark that Jews were at in the 1880s: There are 1,000 mosques, about half a million people actively affiliated with those mosques, plus a large and hard to estimate number of secular and unaffiliated recent immigrants.

More than half that growth has taken place since 1980. The rapid rise combined with widespread public ignorance about their background puts Muslims in a position familiar to previous waves of immigrants: at the start of the long, slow task of combating public stereotype.

  1. This time, leaders of both groups say, maybe, just maybe, the experience of American Jews can be of some help.
  2. Rudin, in his speech, urged scholarly reevaluation of what he called three “unexamined cliches” of the conversation: that Jews and Muslims, along with Christians, are all “children of Abraham”; that the interfaith Golden Age was Muslim Spain; and that Jews and Christians are respected in the Koran as “People of the Book.” Here in the security of America, he argued, is the place to get past cliches and dig deeper for a true “theology of pluralism.” He may be getting ahead of himself.

If these are cliches to the educated folks already inhabiting the issue, there are probably many times that number for whom they are still radically unfamiliar claims about common ground with a religion still pegged too often as an alien, wholly “non-Western” force.

Can Jews eat lobster?

Lobster is not kosher: Jewish Scriptures prohibit eating all shellfish. Nevertheless, Maine’s Jews have developed a pronounced fondness for one of this state’s signature dishes. Many Jewish Mainers eat lobster even though they would never eat pork, another forbidden food.

When did Judaism ban pork?

Abstinence from eating pork appears as far back in Jewish tradition as the Torah itself (which speaks of eating only animals with a split hoof that chew their cud; pigs don’t chew cud). But the issue only became significant in the Hellenistic era (which began in 332 B.C.E.).

Why can’t Jews get tattoos?

Tattoos can be prohibited in Judaism based on the Torah (Leviticus 19:28): ‘You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves: I am the Lord.’

Can Jews eat eggs?

Fish and eggs (pareve) – Although they each have their own separate rules, fish and eggs are both classified as pareve, or neutral, which means they do not contain milk or meat. Fish is considered kosher only if it comes from an animal that has fins and scales, such as tuna, salmon, halibut, or mackerel.

  1. Water-dwelling creatures that don’t have these physical features — such as shrimp, crab, oysters, lobster, and other types of shellfish — are not permitted.
  2. Unlike kosher meat, fish don’t require separate utensils for their preparation and may be eaten alongside meat or dairy products.
  3. Eggs that come from kosher fowl or fish are permitted as long as they don’t have any traces of blood in them.

This means that each egg must be inspected individually. Like fish, eggs may be eaten alongside meat or dairy. Summary Kosher guidelines limit the consumption of animal-based foods to specific animals and cuts of meat that are slaughtered and prepared in a particular manner.

Why can’t Jews drink milk?

Some Jewish authorities give reasons for this prohibition. One reason given is, that it is cruel to cook a baby in the very milk that was intended to nourish it. The Torah forbids the cooking and consumption of any milk with any meat to prevent one from cooking a kid in its mother’s milk.

Is McDonald’s kosher?

McDonald’s is perhaps the most universal fast food restaurant in the world. Whether you’re in Thailand, Brazil or Morocco, you can find an iconic golden arches location. Heck, the Big Mac is even used by economists to measure purchasing power, Yet, for most kosher-observant Jews, McDonald’s is a big red flag. The kosher McDonald’s in Ramat Aviv mall. (Photo: Shaked Karabelnicoff/Unpacked) “You have to go to the Wailing Wall and you have to go to the beach and you have to see Masada, and you must eat your first McDonald’s hamburger,” Orthodox high school student Yael Reisman said in an article for Grub Street, fittingly titled, “McBirthright: The pilgrimage Orthodox Jews take to finally eat their very first McDonald’s burgers.” “It’s almost, like, imperative law,” she continued. Here’s some evidence that I actually made this journey. (Photo: Shaked Karabelnicoff/Unpacked)

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Can Muslims eat horses?

Horses, mules and donkeys In both Sunni and Shia hadith the meat of mules is prohibited but horse meat is allowed in Sunni sources. Narrated Jabir bin `Abdullah: ‘On the day of Khaibar, Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) forbade the eating of donkey meat and allowed the eating of horse meat.’

How is kosher meat killed?

1. Introduction – Stress is the most frequently identified factor in the handling of animals prior to slaughter, which negatively affects the quality of meat. Pre-slaughter stress and energy inputs deplete muscle glycogen reserves and, as a result, cause insufficient post-mortem production of hydrogen ions.

  • The end products of ATP hydrolysis and post-mortem glycolysis, hydrogen ions and lactate, accumulate in the muscle due to the lack of an effective elimination mechanism.
  • This accumulation of hydrogen ions acidifies the muscles and consequently causes drop of pH,
  • Low acidity during maturation changes the color, taste, and tenderness of meat,

Significant pre-slaughter stress also affects the firmness and ability to retain water, but also reduces the tenderness of meat, The weather conditions in the pre-slaughter period may increase additional stress for the animals. Seasonal temperature changes can affect muscle glycogen levels after slaughter and the final pH.

  • The increase in glycolysis results from excessive excitement, hunger, and stress caused by the ambient temperature, leading to high post-mortem pH values,
  • The conditions for keeping cattle in livestock warehouses also have a great influence on meat quality,
  • The concentration of glycogen in the muscles at the time of slaughter is one of the most important factors determining the quality of beef.

Insufficient glycogen reserves during slaughter lead to pH values higher than 5.5, Meat characterized by high pH values is dark and more susceptible to bacterial spoilage, and it is less durable, The problem of reduced meat quality caused by pre-slaughter procedure occurs more often in the meat of young bulls than heifers,

The scientific literature provides detailed information regarding the specifications of various types of ritual slaughter methods that are commonly practiced for the slaughtering of cattle and other animal species, Kosher slaughter is performed by a qualified butcher (known as a shochet) and involves continuous cutting of the esophagus and blood vessels using a special sharp chalef knife, with the length of the straight blade being at least twice the diameter of the animal’s neck,

The shochet slaughters the fully conscious animal and examines the cut on the animal’s neck after each slaughter to make sure that the cut is carried out “perfectly”, If the blade has a nick or is otherwise damaged, the animal is considered to be “tref” or not kosher, and the meat obtained from this process is sold in the regular market,

Additionally, the shochet performs a post-mortem examination of the carcasses to detect any changes, especially in the chest, lungs, and liver. If disease symptoms are observed, the meat of such an animal may not be considered suitable for consumption, In addition, inappropriate cutting may produce non-kosher meat, which is not suitable for consumption by consumers who specifically eat kosher meat,

After slaughtering is completed, the meat is further processed by efficiently removing certain veins and arteries, forbidden fat, and blood. In the United States and most of the Western countries, only the front quarters of beef are used, Koshering is the final step in the process of making the meat suitable for consumption,

  • The term “koshering meat” refers to the meat that is obtained from the animals that are subjected to certain rituals before slaughtering and is followed by the rabbi’s inspection of the carcass to detect the presence of any irregularities.
  • If the carcass passes the inspection, then it is classified as “kosher.” The meat from the certified carcasses is soaked in water for half an hour, salted with coarse salt for 1 h, and finally rinsed with water three times,

A significant reduction in pH values has been observed for meat slaughtered by the kosher method when compared with non-kosher meat samples, In addition, cold water soaking of the raw meat (30 min) and subsequently salting its surface with coarse salt (approximately 1 h) have been shown to help in the removal of myoglobin and other sarcoplasmic proteins during the koshering process,

Partially removing the myoglobin affects the color, taste, and overall quality of the finished product; however, from a health perspective, it is its influence on the oxidation processes that is the most important effect, In addition, a reduction in the concentration of heme proteins influences the final product color.

It has been shown that kosher meat has a low color intensity, Moreover, an important factor that contributes to the enhanced kosher meat nutritional quality in comparison with the meat from standard slaughter methods is its high salt content, Previous have studies investigated the influence of breed, gender, age, muscle type, and various environmental and genetic factors on the final quality of meat.

Furthermore, the quality of beef is determined by the procedures that are followed at all stages of meat production, starting from the appropriate selection of the breed, safety measures adopted during rearing, transport to the slaughterhouse, humane slaughter, cooling of the carcasses, and finally maintaining optimal conditions for tenderization and distribution of the end product,

However, few studies in the literature exclusively describe the impact of factors on the quality characteristics of beef obtained by kosher slaughter method. Owing to the fact that meat is a product that shows high variability in its characteristics, which can be attributed to the interactions between numerous genetic and environmental factors, the previously conducted studies in different environments and for variable periods of time do not provide a clear solution for the problem posed at this time,

  1. The present study may show new outcomes or confirm the results obtained by previous studies.
  2. Taking into account the above-mentioned information, research was carried out to comprehensively analyze the factors (slaughter method, gender, and muscle type) that influence the kosher status and nutritional quality of beef and assess their impact on the selected quality characteristics of raw meat.

This knowledge will enable us to explore novel and effective methods to obtain a finished product with selected characteristics and nutritional quality.

What is the punishment for eating pork in Judaism?

There isn’t one. The punishments for eating non-Kosher food come from God, not men. The mystics teach that eating non-Kosher food affects the soul and makes a Jew less receptive to the divine and more driven by their baser appetites.

Can Jews eat with their hands?

In Jerusalem’s Hasidic neighborhood of Mea She’arim, residents go to great lengths to resist the incursions of modernity. One tradition, in particular, distinguishes the community from others like it: no forks are allowed at the dinner table. It’s Thursday evening in Jerusalem, and the Hasidic neighborhood of Mea She’arim buzzes with preparations for the Sabbath.

I had just returned home to the city after several years pursuing graduate studies in the U.S. An Orthodox friend had told me about certain Hasidic communities that see forks as a modern excess. Having grown up in a traditional Jewish family, I’d spent plenty of time around Hasidic culture, but I couldn’t remember ever having seen a Hasid eat a meal without a fork.

Established in the late-nineteenth century, Mea She’arim was one of the first settlements built outside the walls of the Old City. It sits less than a mile north of Damascus Gate, on the very edge of the Green Line that divides East and West Jerusalem.

With its saturnine streets and alleys, Mea She’arim resembles the lost world of the Eastern European Jewish townships, or shtetls, where the ancestors of most of its residents once lived. People here communicate in Yiddish and see Hebrew not as the language of the State, but as the language of the Sacred.

Along the main drag, butchers, bakers, and merchants of Judaica are a bastion of the Old World, a bulwark against modern demands for supermarkets and department stores. Restaurants in the area are exceedingly private establishments—men often dine alone or with other male friends. Mea She’arim resembles the lost world of the Eastern European Jewish townships. I was invited to a dinner in Mea She’arim that evening. The meal began, as all Hasidic meals do, with the ritual washing of hands. The men took turns at a small, copper sink in the corner of the halogen-lit room to pour tepid water from a plastic jug, three times over their right hands, and three times over their left.

  1. Drying their hands with paper towels, they each muttered a Hebrew prayer, privately thanking God for the commandment to wash.
  2. The three-or-four crowded tables in the narrow room were silent until the blessing over the bread was made and the meal began.
  3. That particular night was special: the Hasids were celebrating a Bar Mitzvah.
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Despite being the youngest person in the room, the Bar-Mitzvah boy was quiet, somber, as befitted the weight of the occasion: his own passage from childhood to manhood. On his right sat the most important person in the room, the rebbe, a spiritual leader descended directly from one of the eighteenth-century founders of the Hasidic movement.

His wise eyes gleamed between the wide black brim of his hat and his long unruly beard. The boy’s father sat to his left, his proud smile as broad as his shoulders. Between courses, the men sang nigunim, wordless melodies, some as old as Hasidism itself. A whole dill-scented fish came out on a large metal platter.

The rebbe used a knife to cut a portion then passed the plate to the forty-or-so men assembled around the tables. Women, as is the custom in Orthodox circles, sat in an adjacent room, peeking out now and again from behind a heavy curtain, looking to see who was talking to whom; no one was willing to speak to me.

(Even the men who’d generously invited me to their gathering declined to share their names.) As the platter circled the tables, one man after another served himself. Some scooped up healthy chunks of fish with their whole hands while others gingerly used thumbs and forefingers to take more modest morsels.

No one that night used a fork. As the night went on, I asked several of the men about the prohibition against forks. No one had an explanation: they were simply following the ways of their ancestors. Residents of Mea She’arim look to the past, a long line of tradition and custom, as a model for the future, carrying out daily tasks as if they lived in eighteenth-century Poland or Ukraine.

Hasids will go to extraordinary lengths to stave off the incursions of modernity. As one of the men at dinner that night told me, “It may just be that in Eastern Europe at the end of the eighteenth century, average people didn’t eat with forks.” Eating with fingers is more fitting than eating with forks because hands are ritually washed before each meal.

Hands are cleaner than cutlery. One gray-haired man in a worn-out velvet hat told me, “Eating with a knife in the right hand and a fork in the left is a practice performed by refined people. Hasids aren’t that modern.” Another man gave me an explanation he said he’d heard from the Rebbe of Krechnov, the descendant of Hasidic masters from modern-day Crăciunești in Romania : “Eating with fingers is more fitting than eating with forks because hands are ritually washed before each meal.

Hands are cleaner than cutlery.” When an important leader like the Rebbe of Krechnov makes a pronouncement against silverware, word spreads fast through the community. When I repeated the Krechnover’s words to a young Hasid I met on the eastern edge of the neighborhood, he nodded. ” Rikhtig,” he said in Yiddish, “That’s right.

Once upon a time Hasids didn’t use forks. Some of us live like that still, but a lot of us don’t. Personally, I like eating with a fork.” At the Toldos Aaron Yeshiva, the middle-and-high school that serves the Karlin-Stolin community, Hasids eat their lunch with fingers, not forks.

  • One bright-faced ex-student who now manages a cellphone shop on Mea She’arim Road told me, “At school, we’d eat fish and meat with our hands.
  • We’d never use forks.
  • A fork is a modern thing.” Many people I spoke to hadn’t heard of the tradition at all.
  • On a Sunday afternoon, I walked into a local diner on Mea She’arim Road to get a bite to eat.

Two Hasidic men stood behind a small aluminum lunch counter serving Ashkenazi favorites like potato kugel, pickled cabbage, and boiled beef tongue. An old Coca-Cola fridge hummed in a corner as men in black hats and suits quietly savored their midday meals.

I asked a group of Yeshiva Bokhers, high-school-aged students, who were enjoying schnitzel and fries whether they’d heard of the injunction. They laughed incredulously: “Surely not.” Though the practice of avoiding forks has no clear origin, the prohibition may go back as far as the Talmud, a textual labyrinth of debates and discussions on Jewish law set down around two-thousand years ago, and an essential part of every Hasidic boy’s education.

One explanation I found comes from a Talmudic debate in tractate Sukkah 32a. The text records an argument about the permissibility of different types of foliage used for the ritual shaking of leaves and citrus during the celebration of Sukkot, a harvest festival otherwise known as the Feast of Tabernacles,

Leaves that are like forks, split into tines, the rabbis decided, are distinctly non-Kosher: they are a sign of schism and disunion. Just as split leaves have no place in prayer, an instrument as divided as a fork should have no place at the Hasidic table. But the prohibition against forks, it turns out, is a conditional one.

But the prohibition against forks, it turns out, is a conditional one. Forks may appear during breakfast, a meal that has no sacred significance in Judaism, but they are absent on Sabbaths or holidays. Forks never turn up at religious meals involving fish.

  • Lacking eyelids, fish are seen a metaphor for an all-seeing God, always watching the deeds of the faithful; their sleeplessness teaches believers to devote every waking moment to worship.
  • In this deeply rooted and often convoluted philosophical tradition, even the holy act of avoiding forks comes with its pitfalls.

For the eight days of Passover, religious Jews refrain from eating food that rises in memory of the Israelites in Egypt who had no time to properly bake bread before embarking on the Exodus. While it is normally holier to eat with your hands, one Hasid told me, moisture on the fingers might cause food to rise, which means that most followers of the faith handle matzah, unleavened bread, as swiftly as possible.

  1. At the end of the fish dinner, our tables were pushed to the edge of the room and a bald Hasid with a blonde beard began playing improvised melodies on a synthesizer.
  2. In a corner of the room, the Bar-Mitzvah boy’s father said lechayim over a glass of schnapps.
  3. A few men went outside to smoke cigarettes.

Others danced while the women watched from the adjacent room. I sat with a group of young Hasids who spoke to me candidly about customs and cutlery. One of them told me that the fork is a goyish thing, something that non-Jews use. When I asked how they dealt with soup, they all looked at me quizzically.

What foods are Jews not allowed to eat?

Kashrut —Jewish dietary laws – Coarse salt for koshering meat The laws of keeping kosher ( kashrut ) have influenced Jewish cooking by prescribing what foods are permitted and how food must be prepared. The word kosher is usually translated as “proper”. Certain foods, notably pork, shellfish and almost all insects are forbidden; meat and dairy may not be combined and meat must be ritually slaughtered and salted to remove all traces of blood.

  • Observant Jews will eat only meat or poultry that is certified kosher,
  • The meat must have been slaughtered by a shochet (ritual slaughterer) in accordance with Jewish law and is entirely drained of blood.
  • Before it is cooked, it is soaked in water for half an hour, then placed on a perforated board, sprinkled with coarse salt (which draws out the blood) and left to sit for one hour.

At the end of this time, the salt is washed off and the meat is ready for cooking. Today, kosher meats purchased from a butcher or supermarket are usually already koshered as described above and no additional soaking or salting is required. According to kashrut, meat and poultry may not be combined with dairy products, nor may they touch plates or utensils that have been touched by dairy products.

Therefore, Jews who strictly observe kashrut divide their kitchens into different sections for meat and for dairy, with separate ovens, plates and utensils (or as much as is reasonable, given financial and space constraints; there are procedures to kasher utensils that have touched dairy to allow their use for meat).

As a result, butter, milk and cream are not used in preparing dishes made with meat or intended to be served together with meat. Oil, pareve margarine, rendered chicken fat (often called schmaltz in the Ashkenazi tradition), or non-dairy cream substitutes are used instead.

Is it illegal to eat pork in Israel?

No. Pork is available in some supermarkets and restaurants in Israel. It is illegal to raise pigs in İsrael but it is not illegal to import, sell, or consume their meat.