What Is Kosher?

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What is Kosher?

The word kosher means “fit and proper”. It was originally used to describe a witness who was fit and proper to testify. When used to refer to Jewish dietary laws it means the food is “fit and proper” for religious Jews to eat.

Kosher has been a unifying factor for the Jewish People throughout history, continually reminding them of their roots.

The Jewish laws of kashrut include what religious Jews can and cannot eat and drink, and when they must eat it.

Do you have to bless Kosher food?

A common misconception is that the food has to be blessed. This is not true; however it must be treated from farm gate to plate in accordance with the laws of Kashrut.

Kosher food must be supervised by a supervising agency and receive a seal of approval.

What are the different standards of Kosher?

For religious Jews to accept food from sources other than their homes, they must be satisfied that the food is of a standard that is acceptable to them.

The highest standard of Orthodox kosher certification is called glatt-kosher. This standard relates to all certified meats and specially-certified dairy products. The most religious of Jews will not eat food cooked in a restaurant unless the restaurant has a reliable Orthodox certification.

Lewis’ is supervised by the Kashrut Authority Inc NSW, which has glatt-kosher certification. Not all Kashrut Authorities meet the glatt-kosher standard.

What animals are kosher?

Land animals that are kosher have split hooves and chew their cud. For example cows, sheep, goats and deer are all kosher. Pigs, rabbits, squirrels, bears, dogs, cats and horses are not kosher and are therefore not eaten.

Domestic birds like chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys are kosher and are eaten.

How do you Kasher (kosher) the meat?

Before the meat is permitted to be prepared for consumption it must be koshered. This process removes the blood from the flesh.

Kashering consists of two stages. The meat is rubbed with salt to draw out the blood. The next stage is to soak the flesh in water and then to wash it to remove the final traces of blood. Kashering is required both for the meat of animals and the meat of poultry.

Kosher meat can only be purchased from a kosher butcher.

Why do Jews not eat meat and milk at the same meal?

Jewish laws prohibit us from eating Meat (including poultry) and Milk in the same meal, as it is consider to be immoral to “boil a kid in its mother’s milk.”

This separation includes not only the foods themselves but the utensils, pots and pans with which they are cooked; the plates and flatware from which they are eaten; the dishwashers or dishpans in which they are cleaned; the sponges with which they are cleaned; and the towels with which they are dried. A kosher household will have at least two sets of pots, pans and dishes: one for meat and one for dairy.

However, it is permissible to eat fish and dairy together – it is quite common to eat lox, (smoked salmon) and cream cheese, for example. It is also permissible to eat dairy and eggs together.

Why do Jews who observe the dietary laws wait a set number of hours after eating a meat meal before eating a dairy meal?

One must wait a significant amount of time between eating meat and dairy. Opinions differ, so waiting times range from three to six hours. This is because meat or dairy must be digested completely before it is permissible to eat the other type of food.

Why are certain fish kosher and other seafood are not kosher?

A water creature is kosher only if it has fins and scales. For example, salmon, tuna, pike, flounder, carp and herring are kosher, while catfish, sturgeon, swordfish, lobster, shellfish, crabs and all water mammals are not.

Why can some foods be used with either meat or dairy meals?

Kosher foods fall into three categories:

1. Meat

2. Dairy

3. Parve (neutral i.e. neither meat or dairy)

What does Parve mean?

Parve foods contain no meat or milk (or their derivatives) and are thus able to be eaten with both meat and dairy dishes.

For more information about what is Kosher please contact the Kashrut Authority Inc www.ka.org.au

Phone: 1300kashrut or (612) 9365 2933