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Kosher talk for chj

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An entertaining, humorous and highly visual slideshow about kosher food.

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Kosher talk for chj

  1. 1. Kosher Food, from the Torah to the 2nd Avenue Deli Dave Shafer CHJ
  2. 2. Disclaimer! I did not grow up in a Jewish household or even in a home where food was important, so there may be an errrror or too in this matirial.
  3. 3. Much of Jewish culture revolves around food, some kosher, some not.
  4. 4. There are basically three kinds of Jewish food. Kosher Non-Kosher Chinese
  5. 5. The general public has become aware of some high profile people who keep kosher. Ivanka and Chelsea converted and have husbands who are orthodox.
  6. 6. The Orthodox keep kosher and that accounts for most of those American Jews who do so.
  7. 7. Although Jews who keep kosher are a pretty small fraction (22%) of American Jews (only 7% of Reform Jews) there are many businesses that cater directly to that segment. Westport
  8. 8. For the super- duper ultra- orthodox there are glatt kosher cruises that consist of two ships that travel side by side – one for meat and one for dairy* *Lighten up – this is a joke!
  9. 9. There are Jewish summer camps, both kosher and not.
  10. 10. “Angry Jew” is a 2D action game in which you play as Mendel, a present-day Orthodox Jew that goes back in time to 19th century Czarist Russia to wreak revenge on the Cossacks and rescue as many holy books as possible. Jewish themed video games, some about kosher animals
  11. 11. Part of the JDate questionnaire asks about your kosher, or not, habits
  12. 12. There is a certain amount of hair splitting and many details about what exactly makes food kosher or not so that will be delayed until a little later on here.
  13. 13. Hair splitting distinctions about kosher practices are part of the usual Jewish sensitivity to fine differences.
  14. 14. The Torah gives the kosher laws in a simple and short form, but later the Babylonian Talmud and subsequent rabbis spun out a long and complicated series of “special cases” and hairsplitting decisions. Is this fish kosher or not?
  15. 15. If a kosher fish is found inside the belly of a non-kosher fish, it is kosher. If a non-kosher fish is found in the belly of a kosher fish, it is not kosher. This is the kind of Talmudic parsing of unlikely situations that we will mostly avoid here.
  16. 16. https://oukosher.org/blog/consumer-kosher/gelatin-revisited/ Some night when you are having trouble sleeping check out the minute distinctions about gelatin – kosher or not? - in this blog by an Orthodox group. Gelatin from fish skins, pigs hides, etc. And does every fish need to be inspected before its skin is used? What about injured fish, etc. Soooo complicated.
  17. 17. Before we get into what exactly makes food kosher let’s look at some history. The Mormons believe that Native Americans are remnants of the Lost Tribe of Israel. So then this ad here would not make sense to them.
  18. 18. Early Jewish settlers in America were mainly Sephardic and brought that food – very spicy – to the US colonies.
  19. 19. In 1654 the first Jews came to North America – 23 people escaping the Inquisition brought by the Portugeuse to Brazil. They left Racife, Brazil with the Dutch and settled in New York (New Amsterdam). These were Sephardic Jews.
  20. 20. In Savannah, Ga., in 1738, a Lutheran minister, Martin Bolzius, wrote, ''The Spanish and Portuguese Jews are not so strict in so far as eating is concerned as the others are . . . The German Jews on the other hand would rather starve than eat meat they do not slaughter themselves.''
  21. 21. Kosher food can be bought outside the home or made in a home’s kitchen. But the home has always been the site until fairly recently.
  22. 22. Kosher and “Jewish style” delis and restaurants did not become common, even in New York, until the 1930s Most kosher food was prepared and eaten at home
  23. 23. Home prepared Passover meal
  24. 24. Russ and Daughters, in New York, is a famous multigenerational family business that started out in the smoked herring trade. A fascinating documentary about them is available from Amazon.
  25. 25. Katz’s Deli – not kosher but “kosher style” food No pickle please – I‘m on a diet
  26. 26. Each week, Katz's serves 15,000 lb of pastrami, 8,000 lb of corned beef, 2,000 lb of salami and 4,000 hot dogs. 2nd Avenue Deli, which is kosher, is avoided by Orthodox Jews because it is open on Saturday
  27. 27. SANDWICHES Hot Corned Beef $20.50 Hot Pastrami $21.50 Hot Brisket $20.50 Tip Tongue (extra lean) $24.95 Center Cut Tongue $24.95 Roast Beef $20.50 Hard Salami $18.50 Soft Salami $16.50 Bologna $16.50 Knoblewurst $18.50 Roast Turkey $20.50 Smoked Turkey $20.50 * Broiled Sliced Steak (with fried onions) $27.95 * Grilled Chicken Breast $19.95 * Chicken Cutlet (Schnitzel) $19.95 * Chopped Liver $18.50 * Chicken Salad $15.95 * Egg Salad $12.95
  28. 28. Typical Kosher certification
  29. 29. Grossingers 1950s
  30. 30. The red dots indicate kosher butchers or delis
  31. 31. Annual Kosherfest trade show in New Jersey
  32. 32. There are three main aspects of kosher food 1) The method of ritual slaughter and the prohibition of consuming blood 2) what animals, birds, fish, etc. you are allowed to eat – kosher versus treyf (not allowed) 3) The meat/dairy mixing prohibition
  33. 33. Children can be easily taught the basic kosher rules, without all the “special cases”, like kosher for Passover.
  34. 34. The Torah has extreme prohibitions about consuming blood and there are some minute fine points about that. Count Dracula would get a very poor grade from the rabbis. The key point is to completely drain the “life blood” from a killed animal. This is the blood surging through the veins. Blood that is embedded in the meat, in capillaries, and which leaks out with time does not count and can be eaten. Brining can help remove residual blood.
  35. 35. You are allowed to suck a bleeding finger but if you bleed onto a piece of bread, even if just a barely visible amount, you should not eat it – because of appearances. An egg with a blood spot, even a tiny one, should be discarded if it is a fertilized egg. Best to ask the hen about her recent rooster contacts.
  36. 36. Kosher butchers, called shochtim, are trained to kill animals in a particular way and then drain the life blood from them. The methods are efficient and minimize pain to the animal. The knife used is called a sakin (‫,)סכין‬ or alternatively a hallaf (‫)חלף‬ by Ashkenazi Jews.
  37. 37. The Torah shows concern for the distress of animals. A mother and her young are not to be slaughtered on the same day (Leviticus). A bird and her eggs or fledglings are not to be both taken. The mother is to be allowed to go. (Deuteronomy). Kosher slaughter methods are humane.
  38. 38. My younger brother faints dead away at the sight of blood and he would not do well in this profession. None of the very elaborate rules for killing and inspecting are specified in the Torah. They are an oral tradition.
  39. 39. There is a common misconception that “cow butts” are not kosher and cannot be eaten. The fact is complicated. That back quarters meat is kosher as long as the sciatic nerve is removed, as well as certain large blood vessels, tendons, and some kinds of fat surrounding organs. That is very labor intensive so kosher butchers usually sell that meat to non-kosher butchers. False and misleading picture
  40. 40. Kosher butchers examine the insides of animals and birds to make sure that everything is there that should be and nothing is there that shouldn’t be.
  41. 41. 18th century German kosher slaughter house
  42. 42. The ancient Greeks , Egyptians, and other cultures thought that the dead needed to be regularly fed…. blood. Blood = the life force. Blood from slaughters would be poured onto the ground over graves. In Leviticus the Torah says simply that such blood should be poured on the ground and then covered up. No mention of graves or the dead. Kosher butchers do that today.
  43. 43. In ancient times the dead in the Underworld were thought to be very hungry. For food, of course, but mostly for blood – the lifeforce. Pouring blood into the ground was an attempt to keep them fed and happy Down There there so they did not come Up Here looking for blood (think zombies).
  44. 44. Necromancy – a practice the Torah strongly condemns – was the temporary raising of the dead to ask them questions about the future. To entice them to arise you had to provide them with blood, poured into the ground. The Torah says that blood from animal slaughter should be poured into the ground and then covered up – maybe to feed the dead but the covering up part is to keep them from coming Up Here. When Cain kills his brother Abel, in Genesis, God says “Your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground”
  45. 45. Before the First Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed all meat was to be slaughtered at the Temple and made into burnt offerings at the altar. The best cuts of meat were completely burnt up at the altar and then the rest was eaten by the priests and the people. The Torah says that God liked the smell of burning meat.
  46. 46. The classification system in the Torah with respect to what is kosher and what is not is not based on any good reasons. It is just a given, with no justification.
  47. 47. Certain kinds of locust are kosher. Manny Ratafia, of CHJ, points out that after a swarm of locusts hits the fields there is nothing left to eat except locusts. High in protein
  48. 48. “Treyf” literally means flesh that has been torn or ripped. If the lion here abandons a partially eaten cow, that flesh is treyf even though the cow is a kosher animal. The meaning of treyf later expanded to mean any forbidden food.
  49. 49. The flesh of animals that die of natural causes – sickness, old age, road kill, killed by other animals, etc. are treyf
  50. 50. Horse meat is always treyf It is a staple in France and some other countries but Americans have a strong aversion to the idea.
  51. 51. Treyf Jurassic Pork? Treyf Maybe kosher A panel of rabbis met to rule on this question
  52. 52. Bacon is the essence of (delicious) treyf food
  53. 53. What is God’s favorite food? Bacon! Where is it written that God keeps kosher?
  54. 54. The hazards of bacon
  55. 55. If you can’t stay away from bacon there are some substitutes
  56. 56. An organic variety of geese from Spain has been found to taste like pork when cooked. So it will appear as “kosher pork” on some menus. What’s next – goose chops? A goose and cheese sandwich?
  57. 57. DNA evidence shows Jewish roots in Scotland in the 1100s. Some clans have strong Jewish ancestry. Who knew?
  58. 58. Pigs were taboo in Egypt
  59. 59. There are many theories why the pig, of all tref animals, has had such a bad press. All of these many theories have problems and it ends up being pretty much a mystery. The experts all agree, however, that the theory popular 100 years ago that it has something to do with hygiene and health is definitely wrong. The pig is a taboo animal for religious reasons, not scientific ones.
  60. 60. You talkin’ about me?
  61. 61. In most primitive or ancient cultures taboo foods are usually ceremonially eaten on one day of the year. That includes the pig in places where it is taboo. The Boar’s Head Feast is a modern annual event (from the 1500’s) revived in 1934 by the University of Rochester and I went to one when I was a student there.
  62. 62. The Torah commands us not to eat anything still alive. These South Koreans are doing just that – eating a live octopus! Mega-treyf!
  63. 63. Eating human flesh is clearly not kosher but during times of famine it is sometimes done and is mentioned in Leviticus 26:29; Deuteronomy 28:53- 57; Jeremiah 19:9; Lamentations 2:20; 4:10; Ezekiel 5:10, and 2 Kings 6:28–29 I grew up on a chicken farm and we had 5,000 chickens. They are not only cannibals they are also self-cannibals (not very smart)
  64. 64. Orthodox Union Certified Hebrew for “kosher” Kosher for Passover Pareve (Yiddish for “neutral”) = can be eaten with either meat or dairy, like flour, sugar, eggs, fruit and vegetables Many local organizations have their own symbols Food packaging symbols
  65. 65. Some food is loaded up with symbols
  66. 66. Anti-Semites complain that the cost of certifying foods, like this “pareve” on a can of Coke, is in essence a “Jew Tax” that is passed on to all consumers.
  67. 67. Kosher wine label from 1930 Wine is made kosher mostly by who handles it and to what uses it is put. Kosher wine for Passover must be kept from any contact with grain products.
  68. 68. Cream of tartar (tartaric acid) is derived from non-kosher wine. ... Today's cream of tartar is refined multiple times, and the final product consists of pure white crystals that contain no trace of wine. Therefore, cream of tartar is kosher even though it is a byproduct of non-kosher wine. cream of tartar, a wine product, is an ingredient in baking powder. Special rules apply at Passover.
  69. 69. Matzos is another food item, like wine, where there are special rules for making it kosher for Passover.
  70. 70. Paul Gauguin painted this picture of Jacob wrestling with the angel at the river crossing, a famous scene from the Torah. The spectators are obviously a few thousand years later than what they are watching.
  71. 71. Chagall, Delacroix, Rembrandt, and many others also painted this scene
  72. 72. Olympic wrestlers are prone to the same kind of injury that Jacob had when he wrestled with an angel – a wrenched thigh tendon and subsequent limping.
  73. 73. When Jacob wrestled with the angel the angel wrenched his thigh sinew and Jacob then limped afterwards. The Torah requires the sciatic nerve to be removed from meat to make it kosher, supposedly because of the story about Jacob and the socket of his hip becoming dislocated. I don’t buy it.
  74. 74. The Cherokee Indians had a similar taboo about eating that thigh sinew from deer, for fear of limping.
  75. 75. In 1 Kings 18:26 we read about a limping dance made by the priests of Baal. Other cultures had an ecstatic dance of this type, with limping, and there must have been a religious significance to the limping. Jacob’s limping after wrestling with the angel, due to a thigh tendon injury, was probably part of a broader context that we do not understand. There has to be a story that would explain better the prohibition against eating the sciatic nerve.
  76. 76. For starters, why should Jacob’s injury be a reason for us not to eat that nerve/tendon? What is the rationale? If that nerve/sinew controls limping then more of it (by eating it) instead of less (not eating it) should be better. And animal meat and Jacob – what’s the connection? In the Torah when someone takes an oath they put their hand into the crotch of the person they are swearing to (Genesis 24, 1-4 and Genesis 47, 29). They testify to a true statement by holding the testes and they come from the same root word. So there is a sexual aspect to this type of oath taking. Damage to the sciatic nerve/tendon turns out to have side effects related to sexual response. So it sounds to me like the angel was fighting dirty. Maybe pretended to take an oath (to bless Jacob) and then hit below the belt (as it were). Nasty!
  77. 77. Genesis 24: 1 And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. 2 And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: 3 and I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: 4 but thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac. Jacob instructs his son Joseph, If now I have found favor in your sight, put your hand under my thigh, and promise to deal loyally and truly with me. (Genesis 47.29, my italics)
  78. 78. Any confusion about a single word in the Torah can sometimes have vast consequences. All the complicated meat/dairy practices – two sets of dishes, two of utensils, sometimes two ovens, dishwashers, refrigerators, eating habits, eating schedules, etc. are based on expanded interpretations of just a few words in the Torah – “you shall not seethe a kid in its mother’s milk”. It is important to get this right.
  79. 79. At the age of four or so I lived for a while on Seven Lakes Goat Farm in Yorktown Heights, with 60 milking goats. They have weird eyes. Alien.
  80. 80. The scholar who transformed the study of ancient kosher laws with her new insights was Mary Douglas – a cultural anthropologist. She approached the study of the ancient Hebrews as if they were just another culture like those that anthropologists have always studied, around the world. Taboo, pollution, dirt, food prohibitions, etc. are universal, not confined to the people of the Torah.
  81. 81. The ancient Hebrews were a pastoral culture, totally dependent on their flock of sheep and goats. The Torah prohibition is only for goats, not sheep, which may have been much more plentiful. Why?
  82. 82. Pastoral tribes and cultures in Central Africa, Morocco, Estonia, Bulgaria and other places have a strong taboo against boiling milk. Worst of all is if milk accidentally falls into a fire. They believe that the result of boiling milk is that their cow’s (or goat’s) udders will dry up. There is a further belief that contact of milk and meat (not through eating but just by touching) could be fatal to the cattle. Milk after it has left the cow is regarded as still being connected to it, through sympathetic magic.
  83. 83. The Masai of Kenya have a culture completely dependent on cattle. Not only do they never boil milk they also never allow meat and milk to mix in their stomach – out of fear for the effects on their cattle. They eat meat for 10 days, then purge their stomach, then eat milk for 10 days, etc. All out of concern for the cows and their continuing milk supply.
  84. 84. These African tribes would not sell milk to foreigners for fear what might happen to the milk, and therefore to their cattle. But they also thought that if the milk gets transformed (without heat) into cheese the magic bond with the cow was largely broken and cheese and meat could be eaten together.
  85. 85. Although the Torah only mentions goats the Babylonian Talmud and subsequent rabbis extended the milk/meat prohibition to all meat and milk.
  86. 86. When something is expressly forbidden in the Torah it always means that people are doing it (otherwise, why forbid it?) and also usually means that it is part of some pagan religious practices, like the Canaanite child sacrifice to their fire god Moloch that the Torah forbids several times. There is sort of a parallel between that and cooking a kid in its mother’s milk – maybe related?
  87. 87. Some people are unhappy with the whole idea of both meat and dairy so for them kosher is not relevant
  88. 88. When Crisco was invented in 1911 Rabbi Margolies of New York said that “the Hebrew Race had been waiting 4,000 years for Crisco” which is a kosher product that can be used in cooking with both meat and dairy. It is an alternative to schmaltz.
  89. 89. Of course the main source of kosher food preparation has always been in the home, so products like Crisco filled a big need there.
  90. 90. 1957 attempt to put lipstick on a pig. Lard fights back!
  91. 91. I don’t know. As Casey Stengel said – “You could look it up”
  92. 92. Do you have extended family memories about keeping kosher?

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