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Jewish Guide

Jewish Guide to Understanding the Meaning of Kosher Food

The Jewish Guide will educate you on the importance of Kosher food, which is food that are in accordance with the Jewish dietary law or kashrus. Although the Jewish dietary laws originated from the Bible, they have been codified and interpreted by rabbinical authorities for centuries.

According to Torah law, the only types of meat that can be eaten are animals with 'cloven hooves' and 'chew cud'. Only fish with fins and scales may be eaten. Pork, rabbit, eagle, owl, catfish, sturgeon, and any shellfish, insect or reptiles are non-kosher. Other types of meat must be slaughtered in a recommended manner and all blood must be removed from the meat in order to be Kosher.

Meat and dairy products cannot be consumed together nor can it be eaten during one meal. This rule derives directly from the Torah, which strictly prohibits this act because of humanitarian reasons:

'You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk" (Exodus 23:19)'

The practice of cooking a young animal in its mother milk is cruel and inhumane, according to Judaism.

A Kosher food that is prepared or cooked together with a non-Kosher product, becomes non-Kosher.

Because of the increased complexity of food products and ingredients, the need for kosher certifying agencies arose to determine the kosher status of prepared food.

As Jews lived in and implemented food traditions from different countries around the world and as different denominations of Judaism developed, Jewish definitions of kosher have become drastically affected over time. There are different Jewish ethnic cultures, different branches within Judaism, and various Jewish kosher certifying authorities in the United States that certify "kosher" based on rules that vary from liberal to conservative.

See a list of Kashrus Agencies in the Jewish Guide.

The consuming of kosher foods by non-Jews has dramatically increased over the years. There are thousands of foods produced for the Jewish community but enjoyed by many of the non-Jewish faith. In fact, only 15% buy Kosher products for religious purposes. Restaurants of various ethnicities have also adopted the kosher methods in their meal preparation as well.

Non-Jews prefer kosher food or products for several reasons:

  1. Against Animal Cruelty

  2. Decreased Food Allergies

  3. Food Safety

  4. Improved Food Quality

  5. Better Taste