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Keeping Kosher: Jewish Dietary Laws Use the following websites to locate answers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashrut http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosher_foods http://www.jewfaq.org/kashrut.htm For those who keep kosher, observance of the dietary laws is both an opportunity for: 1. Obedience to God 2. Preserving the faith of Judaism The importance of the laws of kashrut to the Jewish people has been demonstrated in times of persecution, in which Jews have been forced to eat non-kosher foods (usually pork) under penalty of death: many Jews chose to die rather than break kosher. Kosher Terminology The word "kosher", which literally means “GOOD” or ”PROPER” came to indicate an item "FIR FOR USE.” Kashrut thus means "fitness" for ritual use. The Hebrew word for non-kosher is trayf, or “TORN” (from the commandment not to eat meat that has been "torn" by other animals). How to Keep Kosher: The Laws of Kashrut The following table summarizes the classification of foods under the laws of kashrut. Kosher (permitted) Trayf (forbidden) Beef, sheep, goats, deer Pork, camel, hare Chicken, turkey, quail, geese Eagle, hawk, vulture, birds of pray, scavengers Salmon, tuna, carp, herring, cod Shellfish, octopus, clams, swordfish, sturgeon Meat eaten separately from dairy Meat eaten with dairy Wine or grape juice made by Jewish supervision Wine or grape juice not made under Jewish supervision Soft cheese, Kosher hard cheese Non-kosher hard cheese These restrictions include the flesh, organs, milk and any by-products Only animals that chew their cud and have cloven hooves are kosher. These prohibitions derive from specific instructions in the Torah. These instructions were then interpreted, expanded and modified by rabbis as Jews encountered new cultures and situations. All fruits, vegetables and grains are PERMISSABLE (Gen. 1:29), with the exception of grape products. Due to laws against eating or drinking anything offered to idols, and the fact that WINE was often made for pagan offerings and celebrations, all WINE and GRAPE juice that is not made under Jewish supervision is prohibited. These animals must have no DISEASE or FLAWS IN THE ORGANS. Kosher animals must be RITUALLY SLAUGHTERED in order to remain kosher (Deut. 12:21). The primary goal of ritual slaughter is to rid the animal of as much BLOOD as possible, for ingesting blood is forbidden by the TORAH. Ritual slaughter involves cutting the animal's throat with an extremely sharp knife with no nicks (this is regarded as the most humane method of slaughter). MEAT and DAIRY products may not be combined or eaten at the same meal. Although the Torah merely prohibits boiling a goat in its mother's milk (Ex. 23:19; Ex. 34:26; Deut. 14:21), the Talmud interprets this as forbidding meat and dairy to be eaten together. However, fish with dairy or eggs with dairy are permitted. What constitutes a "separate meal"? Opinions differ a bit as to the details, but most Jews wait between three to six hours after a meat meal before consuming dairy products. The kashrut extends to non-food products. Utensils like pots, pans, sinks, dishwashers, potholders and plates take on the status of the food they touch in the presence of heat. For this reason, most kosher households have at least two sets of dishes, one for meat and one for dairy.