Kosher Lifestyle

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Kosher Lifestyle

Hello! Thanks for asking about the Kosher lifestyle. The short answer is, while the Jewish law book, the Halakha, dictates that Jews avoid eating certain "non-kosher animals" like shellfish and pork, meat and milk together and "improperly" slaughtered meat as well as avoiding all forms of labor during the Shabbat, there are variances to the Kosher lifestyle which is based largely on two laws: the Kashrut dietary laws and Shabbat laws. While some Jews adhere strictly to the rules, others are selective.
Below is a deep dive for the Kosher lifestyle: what it means and the variances in the way it is practiced among Jews.

Summary

Following the Kosher lifestyle is essentially living by the rules of the Jewish Halakha, which is a book of religious laws. Two important laws are the Kashrut dietary laws and Shabbat laws. According to the Jewish law, in order to be said to practice the Kosher lifestyle, 3 general rules or commandments must be kept.
1. Avoid eating non-kosher animals (fish that don't have fins or scales e.g. shellfish, cleft-hooved animals that don't chew their cud e.g. pigs, and birds like vultures, hawks and ostriches).
3. Do not eat meat that wasn't slaughtered according to the "Shechitah", the guidelines for slaughtering animals.

However, Kosher is considered a personal practice and there are variations in the degree to which Jewish people observe the Kosher lifestyle.

The Strict Observers

The more observant Jews adhere strictly to the Shabbat laws and eats only Kosher foods. "Shabbat is observed starting minutes before sunset on a Friday evening until the appearance of at least three stars in the sky on Saturday night." During Shabbat, Jews are expected to avoid all functions that are regarded as labour such as cooking, driving and writing. It is essentially a period of rest.

Observant Jews in accordance with the Kashrut laws do not eat meat and milk together or eat meals that don't contain either milk or meat. In order to ensure that meat and milk are not eaten together, a generally accepted wait time of 6 hours is observed between meat and milk, although it may vary. Some traditions observe this wait time "because of the nature of meat": it leaves fatty residue in the throat and might be stuck between the teeth and time is required for saliva to break these particles down. Orthodox Jews don't consider the wait time as just tradition but because it is Jewish law. Wait time between milk and meat, however, is minimal. It essentially requires that the milk taste is erased from your mouth, mouth rinsed and hands washed.

NON-STRICT OBSERVERS

The less strictly adhering Jews choose to follow the rules mainly during "high Jewish holidays" such as the Passover, at which time the rules are even stricter. The Halakha prohibits eating foods made from grains and water that are allowed to rise. These foods are known as Chametz. They are prohibited because after the Jews escaped from Egypt, led by Moses, they didn't have time to allow their "bread rise before going into the desert".

Conclusion

The Halakha is the basis for the Kosher lifestyle which (based largely on two laws: the Kashrut dietary laws and Shabbat laws) requires that Jews do not eat non-kosher meat, do not eat meat and milk together, only eat meat slaughtered according to Shechitah and avoid all forms of labour during the Shabbat. There are however, variations in the extent to which the laws are kept in the practice of Kosher.


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Leading Rabbis

Ten leading Rabbis in the US are David Ingber, Amichai Lau-Lavie, Avram Mlotek, Rachael Bregman, Noah Farkas, Devorah Jacobson, Menachem Cohen, Dan Horwitz, Darby Leigh, and Shmuly Yanklowitz. These ten were included on Foward's 2016 list of the most influential Rabbis. Hundreds of candidates were nominated by readers and narrowed to the top 32. We selected ten from the list of 32 that stood out due to the work they do in their communities and their ability to reach a cross section of people through innovative methods.

Rabbi David Ingber

Rabbi Ingber is the founder of Romemu, an inter generational Jewish community that meets on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The focus of the community is Jewish Renewal, defined as 'the ongoing creative project of a generation of Jews who are seeking to renew Judaism and bring its spiritual and ethical vitality into our lives and communities, and at the same time embrace a global vision of the role of all human beings and spiritual paths in the transformation of life on this precious planet.' The community welcomes people of all faiths, especially interfaith families. Rabbi David is also involved with Urban Adamah, a Jewish community farm in Berkley, California. In addition to being included on the Foward list, Rabbi David has been named as one of Newsweek's top 50 most influential Rabbis in the United States, as well as one of the most newsworthy Jews in America.

Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie

Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie is the founder of Lab/Shul NYC and Storahtelling, Inc. He has been called a 'Rock Star' by the New York Times and 'maverick spiritual leader' by The Times of Israel. Lab/Shul and Storahtelling uses performance arts and the stage to update Jewish narratives and address new social realities. Rabbi Amichai is active in several organizations including the Global Justice Fellowship of the American Jewish World Service and the Reboot Network. He also serves on the faculty team of the Advisory Council of ORAM which is an LGBT organization focused on refugees, asylum and migration.

Rabbi Avram Mlotek

Rabbi Avram Mlotek is the co-founder of Base and the Rabbi at Base DWTN, located in the Flatiron/Union Square district of New York. In addition to his inclusion on the Foward list, he was selected as a 'leading innovator in Jewish life today' by The New York Jewish Week 36 Under 36." Rabbi Avram co-founded Base with his friends Faith, Jon, and Yael in 2014. The had a desire to minister to young millennials and offer them a place to connect and grow in their faith. Today, there are 7 Base locations: two in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Miami, and Berlin, Germany. Two additional locations are expected to open in 2018.

Rabbi Rachael Bregman

Rabbi Rachael is the current Rabbi at Temple Beth Tefilloh in Brunswick, Georgia. She is the first female Rabbi in the history of the Temple and the first resident Rabbi the Temple has had in 50 years. Through her involvement with Rabbis Without Borders, she has been active in the human rights infractions, specifically human trafficking. Her work with The Open Jewish Project helped to connect her with over 3000 young adults looking to invigorate their Jewish faith.

Rabbi Noah Farkas

Rabbi Noah Farkas is a clergy member of Valley Beth Shalom which is the largest Jewish congregation in the San Fernando Valley area. He was appointed to the Los Angeles Homelessness Services Authority by Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. He serves as a board member of JOIN for Justice which trains Jewish leaders on social issues of the day. Rabbi Noah is also the founder of Netiya, an interfaith organization which works with food issues in LA. He has been featured on NPR as 'a change maker and a rising voice of Jewish leadership.'

Rabbi Devorah Jacobson

Rabbi Devorah Jacobson is the director of Spiritual Life at JGS Lifecare in Massachusetts. She is known for her work with senior citizens as they navigate through the changes caused by aging. Rabbi Devorah provides spiritual support to all faiths in hospice. She also helps with end-of-life planning and counseling of family members.

Menachem Cohen

Rabbi Menachem Cohen is the founder of Mitziut, a non-denominational Jewish community in East Rogers Park, Chicago. In 2003, Rabbi Cohen started working with The Night Ministry, an outreach team that engages at risk youth in the Chicago area. The Ministry, one of the oldest social service organizations in Chicago, offers medical care, counseling and coffee to youth in need. Rabbi Menachem is part owner of AlleyCat Comics. He is also an avid gamer and is currently working on a prototype game that will teach empathy towards the homeless.

Dan Horwitz

Rabbi Dan Horwitz is the founder of The Well in Detroit, Michigan. In 2017, The Well was listed as 'one of the most innovative and impactful organizations in the North American Jewish Community' by The Slingshot Guide. He has also been selected as one of four original cohort members of The Open Dor Project, an accelerator for startup leaders in the Jewish community. Rabbi Dan provides relevant teaching on modern issues and subjects such as tattoos, sex, LGBT, and alcohol.

Rabbi Darby Jared Leigh

Rabbi Darby Jared Leigh has a long list of accomplishments that can serve as an inspiration to people of all religions. Despite being deaf, Rabbi Darby fulfilled his dream of becoming a Rabbi. He is a native New Yorker, avid snowboarder and fire-juggler. He has toured with the Tony Award-winning National Theater of the Deaf as a leading actor. He has also appeared on stage with the rock bands Twisted Sister and Jane's Addiction. Leigh was featured in the documentary "A Place for All: Faith and Community for Persons with Disabilities." He is active in speaking for the Mayor's Office about people with disabilities and working with the LGBTQ Jewish community.

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz is the founder of Valley Beit Midrash, Uri LTzedek, and The Shamayim VAretz Institute. As a global social justice activist he has participated in mission work all over the world, including 'Israel, Ghana, India, France, Thailand, El Salvador, Britain, Senegal, Germany, Switzerland, Ukraine, Argentina, South Africa, and Haiti.' In 2010, Rabbi Shmuly was filmed for the PBS documentary, "The Calling", which followed the training of religious leadership. In 2016, he was selected for the Ariane de Rothschild Fellowship in Cross-Cultural Leadership and Innovative Entrepreneurship at the University of Cambridge.

CONCLUSION

David Ingber, Amichai Lau-Lavie, Avram Mlotek, Rachael Bregman, Noah Farkas, Devorah Jacobson, Menachem Cohen, Dan Horwitz, Darby Leigh, and Shmuly Yanklowitz are ten leading Rabbis in the United States. They each were listed on Foward's 2016 list of most influential Rabbis, as well as being innovators in their leadership and ministry.


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Passover Overview

The following are little known facts about the Jewish festival Passover: the world’s largest Passover Seder takes place in Nepal; the first American edition of the Haggadah was published in 1837; Abraham Lincoln was assassinated during Passover; Hasidic Jews mark Passover by re-enacting the crossing of the Red Sea; at the Seder, Persian Jews whip each other with scallions; Coca-Cola makes a special batch of Kosher Coke for Passover. I have also created a detailed overview of the festival.

OVERVIEW OF PASSOVER


Passover is one of the most important Jewish festivals. It conveys 5 major concepts: memory, optimism, faith, family, and responsibility. It is a festival that most secular Jews participate in, even if they forgo the other festivals of the year. This source provides evidence that Passover is the most widely celebrated Jewish festival for all Jews, including secular Jews. The Seder is the ritual-heavy dinner that marks Passover. Among religiously observant Jews, 78% attend a Seder. Passover meals are celebrated entirely at home. "The central theme of the Passover story is freedom. For many modern Jews, Passover is a time to be conscious of the suffering of others, and to understand modern oppression as a continuation of the enslavement of the ancient Hebrews. "

The festival marks the time when Moses is told to have freed the Israelites from the Egyptian Pharaoh. The Jewish book of Exodus tells us that Moses had warned the Pharaoh that if the slaves were not freed, then a number of terrifying and fatal plagues would be inflicted on the city. The plagues came, one by one, and eventually the Pharaoh gave in and freed the Israelites. The name Passover comes from one of the 10 plagues that were inflicted on Egypt. It is told that God was angered as the Pharaoh ignored the plagues that Moses warned of, and for this reason, God set about killing every first-born male in Egypt. God told Moses that in order to protect their first-born sons, the Israelites should mark their door with lamb's blood. The blood would signify that God should 'Passover' the house, and spare the child. Passover is observed for 7 or 8 days. For Orthodox Jews living outside of Israel, the festival lasts eight days. For all others, the festival is observed for seven days.

Jewish people abstain from all forms of leavened foods made with wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt, as well as items made from yeast such as beer. One of the most common foods eaten during Passover is an unleavened flat bread known as matzah. Also called "the bread of the poor", it is symbolically consumed as a reminder of their ancestors' hardships.

LITTLE KNOWN FACTS


1. The world’s largest Passover Seder takes place in Nepal. Chabad-Lubavitch movement hold their Seder, which they call “Seder on Top of the World”, in Kathmandu for Jewish locals and travelers. Around 2,000 people attend the event.

2. The first American edition of the Haggadah was published in 1837. During Passover, Jewish people read from the Haggadah, the first American version of which was published by Solomon Henry Jackson in 1837 in New York.

3. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated during Passover. The American Jewish Historical Society tell us that President Lincoln was assassinated during Passover, and that the festival that year turned from a time of celebration to a time of mourning. Rabbis openly wept at their pulpits as they set aside their Passover sermons.

4. Polish, Hasidic Jews mark Passover by re-enacting the crossing of the Red Sea. Part of the Passover story involves Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt as he frees them from slavery. As they are being pursued by the Egyptian soldiers, Moses leads them to the Red Sea and parts the water, allowing the Israelites to walk across, unharmed. The soldiers, on the other hand, perish as they follow them into the Red Sea and the waves commence as the Israelites make it to the other side. In Gora Kalwaria, a town in Poland, Hasidic Jews mark Passover by re-enacting the crossing of the Red Sea. The re-enactment involves reciting the names of the towns they would cross, whilst raising a glass at the mention of each to symbolize a gratitude to God for reaching this destination.

5. In Gibraltar, there’s dust in the charoset. Charoset is a sweet paste eaten at Passover which symbolizes the mortar the enslaved Jews used to build in ancient Egypt. Traditionally, it is made from crushed nuts, apples and sweet red wine, while Sephardi Jews use figs or dates. However, in Gibraltar they actually add brick dust into the recipe.

6. At the Seder, Persian Jews whip each other with scallions. In Iran and Afghanistan, the Jews have a tradition of whipping each other with green onions (scallions) in order to represent the whipping that the slaves experienced. This goes hand in hand with other Passover traditions that recreate sensory experiences of Egyptian slavery, such as eating matzah and dipping greenery in saltwater, which symbolizes the tears shed by the oppressed Israelites.

7. Coca-Cola makes a special batch of Kosher Coke for Passover. While Coke is generally Kosher, Passover calls for a tightening of dietary regulations, and therefore Coca-Cola makes a version of Coke without the high-fructose corn syrup.

CONCLUSION


To sum up, I have found that the following are little known facts about the Jewish festival Passover: the world’s largest Passover Seder takes place in Nepal; the first American edition of the Haggadah was published in 1837; Abraham Lincoln was assassinated during Passover; Hasidic Jews mark Passover by re-enacting the crossing of the Red Sea; at the Seder, Persian Jews whip each other with scallions; and Coca-Cola makes a special batch of Kosher Coke for Passover.
Sources
Sources