Kashrut

Kashrut is a key part of the dietary habits of Jews and they feel that it is very important to observe this. The only food that Jews can eat is kosher food, which means fitting or correct food that is in the state of being kosher is the only food, which Jews can eat. The foods that Jews cannot eat are called triefah. Jews food do not have to be blessed by the Rabbi although he may be consulted if the is conflict as to whether a certain food is kosher or not.

Jews may eat meat eat food from animals but they must have certain characteristics “These are the animals which you may eat… anything which has a completely split hoof and chews cud, this you may eat… ” (Leviticus 11:2-3) This means that the only animals or livestock that Jews can eat have to chew the cud this is where they chew the grass, it forms balls in their stomachs know as ruminants and then regurgitate it then chew it again. Jews can only eat these animals. Also the animals must have a split hoof such as that of the cow.

Only animals, which possess both of these characteristics, are kosher . All other mammals are treifah. For a bird to be Kosher it must be written in the Torah in Leviticus 11:13-19 there is no other way of recognising kosher birds other than this method. Although there are a number of birds written in the torah that Jews can eat in reality Jews tend to only eat duck turkey and chicken. These birds can be eaten but not if they are found to have any defects or are found to have any blood still in them.

Then they would be taken to their rabbi to see what should be done. For a fish to be kosher it must have Fins and scales so this mean that Jews may eat cod plaice herring etc but any other seafood is not permitted i. e. Crabs prawns and cockles these are not permitted by the Torah. Neither are other sea dwelling creatures i. e. squid or octopus also no reptile may be eaten i. e. snakes or lizards. Animals that are Kosher are not officially kosher unless they are killed in a specific way.

Jews can only eat animals and birds that have been killed in a certain way called shechitah this is a cut across the throat by a very sharp knife this causes very little pain to the animal as the knife is so sharp this is done because it is forbidden in Jewish law to cause any animal pain and because in previous time all Jews were vegetarians apart from a ritual sacrifice that was carried out once every year modern Jews have had to find a way of painlessly killing animals should they choose to eat meat and to kill animals.

The killing works by cutting the two arteries either side of its neck, which carry blood to the brain. When these are slit the blood pressure in the brain drops to zero almost immediately, which knocks the animal unconscious so that by the time it could come round and feel pain it is already dead. In the torah it states that Jews must not eat the blood of an animal so all blood must be removed before Jews can eat it. A kosher butcher usually does the removal of the blood but some Jews prefer to do this themselves because of a force of habit or so that their children will know how it is done.

To remove the blood of an animal Jews have to first place he meat on this board placed several centimetres apart for all of the excess blood to drain away. Then the meat is covered in coarse salt so that the rest of the blood can drain away it is then left for 60 minutes like this. Jews then wash the meat so that the salt and any congealed blood can be removed.

Now the meat can be cooked. Other foods must not contain blood and so Jews must be careful about what they eat i. e. f an egg that they buy happens to have a spot of blood in it then this egg becomes treifah if Jews are eating foods such as liver which contain a lot of blood then they must be careful and so they roast it as it is impossible to remove all they blood so they change thee physical state of the blood to make it kosher. All plants are Kosher although like other Jewish foods plants have complicated rules. Jews are forbidden to eat any insects so they must check every single vegetable that they eat for caterpillars, and other such insects.

Jews have to check their vegetables extremely thoroughly for any animals, as it is a sin to eat them. Jews can buy foods from lots of different sources as long as they are kosher so they can buy vegetables from anywhere but other foods, which contain preservatives etc, have to be checked out by the rabbi so that the Jewish community knows that the food is in fact kosher. These certified foods carry a specific badge called a hechsher this means that it has been given the ok by a rabbinic authority. Meat must come from a kosher butcher as it has to have been killed in the special way.

The butcher must have a license from the rabbinic authority. Having one of these means that the butchers are regularly subjected to checks by the authority and if they are found to be selling none kosher meat then their licence is retracted immediately. Restaurants also must have a licence and restaurants must sell only meat or only diary they cannot sell both because of the laws on meat and milk in Judaism. There is a proverb in the Torah, which states that ” You must not cook a young goat in its mothers milk”

Jews decided to interpret this as meaning tat they must not eat meat and dairy products at the same time even if they are sure it is not the mother and the kid. This also means that they must leave a gap of up to 5 hours before they can eat dairy products after eating meat, so that they do not mix in the stomach either. Also this means that the food products cannot be prepared in the same space so there must be separate boards, cutlery, untensils, plates and sinks to wash them up in there is no need to have two separate parts of the freezer or fridge because cold meats and food substances are not effected in the same way.

Foods that are neither meat nor dairy are known as parve these foods can be eaten with either meat or milk but never both. Therefore there are a lot of rules, which affect the way that Jews live their lives Having to eat only Kosher meat affects Jews because they can only eat that sort of meat so they cannot shop at a normal supermarket which would be inconvenient as they would have to shop at an only kosher butchers so they couldn’t shop at convenience shops. Also if they wanted to eat out they couldn’t eat at a normal restaurant they would have t go to a kosher restaurant and they couldn’t eat meat and milk.

Jews couldn’t eat shellfish or squid so couldn’t eat a lot of exotic dishes at all they couldn’t have any reptiles so they couldn’t eat frog or the French snails. Jews also couldn’t eat at a normal vegetarian restaurant because of the risk that S they may not have checked the food properly and removed all of the insects. Also Jews cannot eat many traditional meals such as a cheeseburger or cheese and biscuits after a Sunday roast as this would mean that the two would mix in the stomach.

They also would have to take their children out of school to feed them, as they couldn’t ensure that the food at school would be kosher unless they went to a Jewish school. Also they would have to be very careful when eating at none Jewish friends houses as they couldn’t have none kosher food there could also be a problem, with drugs that are in capsule form as these are often made of gelatine which comes from animals but this is often overlooked as the key thing in the Jewish religion is preserving life.

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