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View Diary: I need help from my Jewish friends: Condolences protocol (166 comments)

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  •  Food rules for Reform Jews (13+ / 0-)

    I wouldn't worry so much about kosher, as most Reform Jews would at most do kosher-style.  Just stay away from any food that is inherently not kosher.  That said, you can't possibly offend if you bring kosher food.  Here are the major rules to be aware of.

    No pig.  That means your bacon-wrapped hors d'oerves should go to the wake.  There isn't a commandment against eating pig.  The rule is no land animal unless it both has cloven hooves and chews its cud.  Cow, sheep, deer, are kosher.  Horse is not because hoofs are not split.  Pig is not because it doesn't chew the cud.

    No shellfish. Sea creatures are restricted to fish with both fins and scales.  There is no universal NEVER EAT sea creature equivalent to pig.  Pig is the big no-no to Jews because historically they were forced to eat it to prove they had converted from Judaism.  For some reason everyone thinks of shrimp first as the don't eat for seafood,  but they're all equally treife. (Unkosher)

    Fun fact: the blue dye in ancient prayer shawls came from some kind of oyster or mussel.  The prohibition on shellfish may have been not only to avoid health issues in filter feeders but also to keep the priests' trade secret on how they made the dye.  The source of the blue dye was discovered only in the last ten years.

    Don't mix dairy and meat.  Unless you are specifically told they are serving a meat or dairy meal, just avoid food that has both meat and dairy in the same dish.  Yes, that means pizza with meat topping is out.

    I have found that during shiva, the family reverts to rules they learned in Hebrew School and haven't followed for 40 years.  :)

    •  This diary should be archived (5+ / 0-)

      for future use for all of us who have no or semi-no clue.

      My challah is pure genius -- but obviously not baked in a pure kosher oven.  No problem with this family.  I do make rugelach and hamentaschen and do not believe in baking the latter just for Purim since this is the first year I knew when it occurred.  

      I love your fun fact about prayer shawls.

      I'm trying to think what the Irish don't eat -- except during Lent on Fridays -- and who the heck doesn't love fish?????

      " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

      by gchaucer2 on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 08:29:36 PM PDT

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    •  Also, given the time of year, don't forget the (6+ / 0-)

      prohibition against leavening. I start removing it a week to ten days prior to Passover because I work and its really hard to do everything at the last minute. I stop buying stuff I don't want in the house 2 weeks to 10 days prior and try to eat up what's there.

      I don't know that I'd care so much about it if my parents had just passed away.

      And even though it all went wrong I'll stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah! -Leonard Cohen .................@laurenreichelt

      by TheFatLadySings on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 08:56:55 PM PDT

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    •  Small quibble (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      madhaus, ladybug53

      Actually, the pig is specifically mentioned as treif (Leviticus 11:7).  But it's just because it doesn't meet the criteira you specified, as noted in the same verse, so it' an example of a category rather than a category in itself.  I've not heard the theory before that the pig was ID'd as the big no-no because it was the animal Jews were forced to eat to prove apostasy.  Interesting.  I do remember later, non-biblical texts (e.g. Maccabees, non-canon for Jews, but of course the events are remembered at Hanukkah and come largely from the accounts in Maccabees) specifically mentioning sacrifice of pigs in the Temple by pagan conquerors. That may have something to do with it too.

      "A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home." - James Madison

      by gharlane on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 09:44:02 PM PDT

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