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The history of Judaism dates back to the 2500 B.C. beginning with Abraham and the Hebrew
people. Abraham’s people were farmers and herdsmen. It is often believed the religion to be called
Jewish but instead Jewish essentially is the name of the culture rather than the religion. Judaism is the
religion known as God’s chosen people. Over the centuries the Jewish people have tackled numerous
hardships including the Great Flood that saved only Noah, famine causing the Hebrew tribes to move to
Egypt where they were forced into slavery, having to hide their religion because of the fear of the
government and likewise the horrifying times when Jewish people were persecuted because of their
beliefs during the Crusades and the Holocaust. Throughout these many hardships the Jewish people still
kept their faith in God.
Early Judaism practices include sacrifice, prayer and circumcision. There is not a set of rules
defining the Jewish beliefs instead it is a unified belief in God. The religion is based on good acts. One
major importance in the Judaism religion is the strict dietary laws that Jews must follow. These laws are
called kosher meaning good, proper, or fit for ritual use. The original dietary laws can be found in the
books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus. Not everyone follows these laws strictly but Orthodox Jews follow
these laws completely.
Kosher Foods (acceptable):
Ritually slaughtered beef, sheep, goats and deer with no flaws or diseases
Chicken, turkey, quail, geese
Salmon, tuna, carp, herring, cod
Meat eaten separately from dairy
Wine or grape juice made under Jewish supervision
Soft cheese and kosher hard cheese
Trayf Foods (unacceptable):
Pork, camel, rabbit, rodents, reptiles, and any animal that died of natural causes
Eagle, hawk, vulture
Crab, lobster, octopus, clam, swordfish, sturgeon
Meat with dairy (e.g., cheeseburger, burger with milkshake, chicken cordon bleu, wiener
schnitzel, etc.)
Any other wine and grape juice
Most hard cheese
All fruits, vegetables and grains are permissible with the exception of grape product because
Jews believe that God made these foods for humans only. These dietary laws extend to not only food
items but also utensils and cooking ware. For example if you use a plate for chicken then you cannot
later use that plate for dairy products. Most kosher households have two sets of dishes one for meats
and one for dairy. Also these plates must be washed in different areas with different sponges. Jews will
either read product labels to make sure all ingredients are kosher or their foods will contain the seal of
approval indicating a mashgiach has approved the products preparation. Approval is indicated by
different symbols. Common symbols are a K inside of a circle which stands for kosher, a U inside of a
circle stands for Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, and a P inside a circle are foods fit for
Passover. There is no explanation for these dietary laws other than this is what God wanted for His
chosen people to provide a set of unity, self-control, discipline and mindful eating.
. N.p.. Web. 10 Oct 2013. <http://www.religionfacts.com/judaism/practices/kosher.htm>.
Bowker, John. The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. Oxford: Oxford University Press , 1997. Print.
Kolatch, Alfred. The Jewish Book of Why. New York: Jonathon David Publishers Inc. , 2000. 84-99. Print.