Stuff Reform Jews “Don’t Do”, but Can, in the Context of Reform Judaism: Kosher, Part I

Whenever I meet new people, and they discover my level of observance, I get this comment:

“Wait, you do X?  But you’re not Orthodox!”

Which is, of course, true.  However, last I checked, Orthodoxy has not co-opted Jewish ritual and observance.

One of the most meaningful mitzvot I observe is kashrut – keeping kosher.  Here is a great link to Kashrut 101.

I choose to observe a relatively large amount of kosher rules.  I have separate dishes, pots, pans, sponges, etc.  I don’t eat pork products, shellfish, milk/meat together, etc.

I keep a stricter kashrut in our home than outside.  I keep “nominally kosher” outside the house – I won’t eat meat or poultry that is not kosher, but I will eat fish (traditionally considered neither meat nor dairy) and dairy/vegetarian foods in restaurants and other people’s homes.  If someone goes out of their way to serve me kosher meat not mixed with dairy in their home, I happily enjoy it – plates, silverware, pots do not matter to me.  If I know, with certainty, that a kosher product was produced unethically in any way, it is trayfe to me – non-kosher – and I will not purchase or eat it.

This is but one example of the many choices I have made to take on a piece of Jewish observance that I have made meaningful to me, in my own, Reform Jewish way.  I learned about it all, and decided what worked for me both spiritually and practically in my life.

I have chosen A LOT.  So you may be thinking, well I couldn’t do that, or I don’t want to do that.  So, ok then.  No problem.  Perhaps there are other things you choose – plenty of ways to be an active Jew.

If, however, you want to give more meaning to the food you eat and how you eat, because as a country we are sooooooo freaking unhealthy, or because there are just so many instances of animal cruelty that have come to light, or  you want to infuse your daily nourishment with moral and/or spiritual nourishment,  there are plenty of ways to do this in a Jewish context.  There are such things as Ethical Kashrut and Eco-Kashrut.  Many people choose to take on these things in addition to the traditional kashrut they already keep.  Some people choose to solely observe Ethical and/or Eco -Kashrut.  Some people choose any level or combination of these things!

Point being, we have so many options and opportunities to infuse this most basic thing of daily life – eating – with a level of Jewish meaning that will enhance us physically and spiritually, that appeal to our modern sensibilities of food ethics and ecological responsibility.

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