Moment Magazine asked 18 experts “Is There a Secret Ingredient in the Jewish Relationship with Food?” in their latest issue — and got some fascinating answers. Below are three of them and we posted three more last week here with permission from the magazine. We want to hear what you think. Share your thoughts in the comments.
Jewish dietary practice, which we call kashrut, is the original practice of mindful eating. Kashrut isn’t about what you can and cannot eat; to me, it posits the individual in a holistic network of life and death. It says we do not own the earth, nor its creatures; we cannot have what we want whenever we want. Certainly what we put in our mouths says a lot about what we value as Jews and as human beings. There has always been a special relationship between Jews and food, not just emotionally, but with laws and rituals that govern every aspect of food: from how we sow the earth, how we harvest, how we slaughter animals, how we prepare food and the blessings we say before and after meals. The interesting thing to me is that in America today, kosher food is widely seen not just as part and parcel of an Orthodox lifestyle, but among many liberal or secular Jews as a mark of membership in the tribe, a public pronouncement of their Jewish identity.
Sue Fishkoff is editor of j., the Jewish news weekly of Northern California, and author of Kosher Nation: Why More and More of America’s Food Answers to a Higher Authority.
This blog post originally appeared on What’s Your Food Worth?
Sue Fishkoff is the editor of j., the Jewish news weekly of Northern California. Previously she has worked as a national correspondent for the JTA Jewish news service, focusing on Jewish identity and culture. Her freelance work has appeared in the New York Times, Huffington Post, Hadassah Magazine, and the London Jewish Chronicle. From 1991-1997, she was a staff writer for the Jerusalem Post, serving as the paper’s New York bureau chief from 1991 to 1994. She is the author of “The Rebbe’s Army: Inside the World of Chabad-Lubavitch” (Schocken Books, 2003) and “Kosher Nation: Why More and More of America’s Food Answers to a Higher Authority” (Schocken, October 2010.)
Recently Fishkoff answered a few questions from Bryant Simon at What’s Your Food Worth.
The Jewish Journal, in anticipation of Thanksgiving, ponders how “to turn the Jewish obsession with food into a Jewish call to what is popularly called food justice.”
Nikki Cascone, from Top Chef season four, will open Octavia’s Porch, “the first and only Global Jewish restaurant on the Lower East Side” next week, Grub Street reports. Check back on JCarrot next month for more on Cascone.
Ronald McCormick, the Senior Director of Local and Sustainable Sourcing at Walmart, gives the Atlantic readers “An Insider’s Account of Walmart’s Local Foods Program.”
This story is cross-posted from JTA.
Kosher — it’s the first word in the book. And tackling the “k” word head-on is part of what makes the first Reform guide to Jewish dietary practice so significant.
“The Sacred Table: Creating a Jewish Food Ethic,” to be published next month by the Reform rabbinical association, uses an array of essays by Reform rabbis and activists to challenge Reform Jews to develop a conscious dietary practice grounded in Jewish values.
And it’s not shy about suggesting kashrut, both traditional and re-imagined.
If you shop in almost any grocery store in the US, chances are you have bought a product that is certified Kosher. According to Sue Fishkoff’s new “Kosher Nation” “one third to one half of the food for sale in the typical American supermarket is kosher.” This is big business, “$200 billion of the country’s estimated $500 billion in annual food sales is kosher certified.” Kosher food is often perceived to be more pure or cleaner than treyf, yet it seems that there are many parallels between the Kosher and mainstream food industries.
Kosherfest, which is taking place this week in New Jersey, is an annual gathering, highlighting this big business. It is the time a year where Kosher food producers gather to tout their wares to industry professionals, supermarket buyers, chefs, and other food service providers.
In his keynote presentation, Menachem Lubinksy, founder and president of LUBICOM Marketing and Consulting, and co-producer of Kosherfest, claimed that the industry is moving towards offering healthier products. Apparently schmaltz is out, and olive oil is in. Yet, spending a day at Kosherfest made me wonder, is the kosher industry actually trying to produce healthy and sustainable products, or are they just greenwashing (promoting a product as environmentally friendly, when it actually isn’t)?
I re-joined the Hazon staff at the beginning of the summer, after a three-year stint at ADAMAH. Since then, one of my major projects has been pulling together the East Coast Hazon Food Conference (our California staff is simultaneously working on the Hazon Food Conference – West Coast).
At Hazon, people often ask about what goes into planning a food conference, particularly one that represents the New Jewish Food Movement. Our conferences are the center of the conversation about Jews, food, and contemporary life, and they must show those values, as well as talk about them. We can’t just teach, we must also do. There are a lot of questions that we ask ourselves while planning the conferences. Here are some examples of how we begin to them.