Someone needs to give Snooki (aka Nicole Polizzi) a short lesson on the difference between kosher and organic food.
The diminutive reality television star’s culinary confusion came to light in a clip from her new “Jersey Shore” spin-off “Snooki & JWoww,” in which she stars with her BFF Jenni “JWoww” Farley.
While Puerto Rican boxer Miguel Cotto’s fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. this past weekend in Las Vegas was clearly fair (Cotto lost in a unanimous decision), Rabbi Jason Miller is questioning whether it was completely kosher.
Actually, the rabbi was concerned not about what went on in the ring, but rather about what Cotto was wearing in it. Cotto has been sporting an Orthodox Union kosher symbol (a circle with the letter “U” in the middle, often pronounced as O-U) tattoo for some years now. He apparently got it as a tribute to a Jewish friend.
President Shimon Peres is a proud advocate of Jewish culture and respect for religion. But has he been serving his guests treyf?
The Israeli media is abuzz with the rumor that meat for Peres’s Independence Day celebration was bought from a non-kosher Arab butcher.
The news site NRG reported that the meat was bought in the Arab locale of Abu Gosh, and that a rabbinate official has said that a kashrut inspector approved the meat without being sure of its origins. According to the report, the company Pri Haaretz was called for a hearing at the supervising rabbinate but did not show so had its license revoked. An unofficial English summary of the article can be found here.
Actress Lisa Edelstein bared all — literally — in a campaign for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, known by its acronym PETA. She posed lying nude on what appears to be a bed of super-sized leafy greens for a poster encouraging people to try vegetarianism.
The phrase “Eat Green to Go Green” is superimposed over a shot of the naked Edelstein stretched out seductively on her side. A behind-the-scenes video posted on the PETA website shows celebrity photographer Jack Guy shooting Edelstein and includes an interview with her. The actress, 44, talks about the toxic effects of the meat industry and urges people to try vegetarianism, even if it is only for one day a week. She also mentions that she adopted her dogs from rescue shelters, and that she feels strongly that acquiring a pet this way (instead of buying one from a pet store) is the ethical way to go.
Eating kosher, even in prison, is a constitutional right — not only for Jews, but also for Christians.
On January 11, a three-justice panel of the California 3rd District Court of Appeals issued a ruling that overturned a lower court one that had denied Margarito Jesus Garcia kosher meals from the state’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The court declared that responding negatively to Garcia’s request for kosher food amounted to a violation of Garcia’s rights under the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000.
Talk about the best of all worlds. Soon, here in Israel, we’ll be able to observe tradition and start our Shabbat dinner with liver, while enjoying the taste of pork. Oh, and all with the blessing of the Chief Rabbi.
Confused? Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger has revealed that his rabbinate is looking in to importing a special goose liver that tastes like pork. How does he know? He’s had three non-Jewish food experts check it out.
Turkey? Kosher. Pig? Not kosher. Four-legged chicken? We’ll get back to you.
That’s the discussion currently under way at a Jerusalem butchery, where experts in kashrut are gathering to decide the fate of a four-legged bird slated to make a nice schnitzel or roast. The chicken, raised in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim, may avoid a bloody end because of its extra appendages, with rabbis deciding its destiny based on the structure of its legs.
American immigrants to Israel are in shock. No, it’s not the fact that the President of their motherland is clashing with the Prime Minister of their new country, or that many in Israel would have you believe that Barack Obama is turning on the Jewish State. It’s something far more important than all of that political stuff.
Somebody has been messing with their supply of Hershey’s. They have long been paying a premium to get that sweet taste of home, but it seems now that something untoward has been happening with the imported chocolate. The Orthodox Union has just published a warning that stickers attached to Cookies ‘n Chocolate sold here are counterfeit. “This product is sold in Israel with a sticker placed by the importer that contains an unauthorized OU symbol. This product is not certified by the Orthodox Union and the sticker did not originate from the Hershey Chocolate Company,” states the warning. An Israeli website has published pictures of the offending treat.
News of this kashrut fraud comes just a few days after Israel’s state comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss reported that out of 35,000 tons of fresh meat unloaded at Israel’s ports during 2007 to 2009 for sale in the Palestinian Authority, only 15,600 tons reached its stated destination. What does that mean? Well quite possibly, according to the state comptroller, the rest made it in to the Israeli market, sold by butchers claiming it has both veterinary and kashrut supervision that it doesn’t.
As Hanukkah celebrations got underway last week, The Daily Beast ranked the 30 most Jewish cities in America. Their results were determined by three per capita factors: Jewish population, number of synagogues and kosher restaurants.
As expected, New York claimed the top spot. With a Jewish population of 9.6%, four synagogues per capita and an almighty 504 kosher restaurants, it remains headquarters of most American and international Jewish institutions and, of course, home of the best Jewish delis.
Instead of whipping up a kosher meal, you serve your observant guests a vegan dish. Is that a crime?
It is according to federal Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson, at least if your “guests” are there involuntarily. The Indiana jurist ruled this week that her state’s Department of Corrections violated federal law when it substituted vegan meals for kosher for inmates, the JTA reported this week. Magnus-Stinton’s decision came in response to a class-action suit filed last year against the department by Matson Willis, an Orthodox Jewish inmate at the Miami Correctional Facility, according to JTA.
With new properties from giants Marriott and Starwood competing with indies like Smith Street’s NU and and Park Slope’s Le Bleu, Brooklyn’s hotel market is sizzling. So how can an upstart hotel compete? For the spanking-new Condor hotel in Williamsburg, according to real-estate site Curbed.com, the edge comes from amenities like wig stands and a Yiddish-speaking concierge — but no televisions or phone operator on Friday nights and Saturdays.
Since the 35-room Condor’s target market is Orthodox Jews and their large families, guests probably won’t mind. The hotel’s “half a block from a shul, from kosher food,” developer Zalman Glauber told the New York Daily News. “A Jewish businessman who has a show in the Javits Center will much more want to stay in a place where he can daven [pray] and have something to eat kosher,” he added.
So much for an Orthodox “America’s Next Top Model” winner. This week, Esther Petrack, an Israeli-born Boston native, was eliminated from the competition. In the opening episodes of the show, the 18-year-old caused a ruckus by suggesting that she would break Shabbat if she needed to for modeling jobs. Bloggers criticized Petrack for her lack of commitment, and questioned her level of religious observance.
There was such a buzz that Petrack’s mother defended her daughter through a comment on a blog. Esther’s assent to working on Saturdays, Mrs. Petrack claimed, was the result of bad editing. “These words were extracted from a long conversation Esther had about the laws of Shabbat,” Mrs. Petrack wrote, “I am proud of Esther’s commitment to Jewish observance which she carried throughout the show.”
For her part, Petrack found the attention on her observance baffling and irritating. In a post-elimination interview with The LA Times, Petrack defended herself, maintaining that she had remained devout throughout the show, going so far as toveling a cooking pot in the Pacific Ocean to keep kosher.
How naïve we were! Last week, we reported with some surprise, revelations that black market lulavs were being smuggled into Israel. Now, it seems that lulav fraud doesn’t stop with smuggling.
The Chief Rabbinate has put out notices in synagogues and public locations warning people to beware of lulavs whose tips have become split and which have subsequently been glued together. Rabbis differ on whether such a lulav may be used to recite the lulav blessing on Sukkot, as required by Jewish law.
The Chief Rabbinate’s notices say that if traders are selling “glued” lulavs, they can’t pass them off as normal ones as they currently do, and must make “full disclosure” to customers. Read about the warning here.
The poor Hasidim just can’t catch a break. Now even their water is not kosher.
Yesterday, a blogger on the social news website Reddit uploaded photos of crustaceans found after an examination some New York City tap water under a microscope. The tiny creatures, called copepods, became apparent after an H&E stain was added to the water.
According to the post, the un-kosher critters are added to water reservoirs to “attack, kill, and eat the younger first and second instar larvae of the mosquitoes,” making it safe to drink.
“Modern Family” and “Mad Men” may have come out the big winners, but prominently thrown into the mix at this year’s “Primetime Emmy Awards” was one of the country’s best-known defenders of kosher slaughter.
Temple Grandin, the inspiration for the year’s top TV movie, earned her own enthusiastic applause during an onstage appearance at the August 29 ceremony, held in Los Angeles. Portrayed by Claire Danes in an HBO biopic bearing her name, Grandin gained fame by overcoming obstacles related to autism, eventually becoming an expert in animal husbandry and a best-selling author. Now a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, 63-year-old Grandin (who celebrated her birthday the night of the show’s airing) may be best known professionally for designing a humane system of herding animals to slaughter, a project that plays a central role in the HBO movie.
Despite tepid advance reviews for the upcoming Drew Barrymore-Justin Long romantic comedy, “Going the Distance” — Variety diagnosed the movie as having “bipolar disorder” — the trailer is playing up the genre film’s atypical gross-out aspect.
Divorce is never easy, and mixing in the rules of Orthodox Judaism certainly doesn’t make it easier. But that’s precisely what happened when Laura Derbigney became entangled in a custody battle between her Catholic husband and his Jewish ex-wife over the ex-couple’s 7-year-old son.
Derbigney, a Chicago resident, is being forced by a court to raise her stepson as an Orthodox Jew, the religion of his mother, the state’s local NBC affiliate is reporting. But Derbigney, a Hispanic Catholic, says that not being allowed to drive on Saturdays and being forced to avoid pork just doesn’t feel kosher.
Watch a video with Derbigney after the jump
The Orthodox Union, which certifies as Kosher more than 400,000 products, includes a long discourse on toothpaste on its web site. Though most dentifrices contain glycerin, an animal product that is “unquestionably” non-kosher, it’s not completely clear whether they’re treyf; the OU quotes some complicated rabbinical rulings involving flavor and usage of the product. “If glycerin is present in tasty toothpaste, it would certainly seem to be problematic. The issues…are very serious, and consumers should not hesitate to consult their rabbonim for direction,” its Web site says.
But Jews suffering dental-hygiene anxiety can relax and brush; there’s actually a whole range of kosher toothpastes. And the latest, Supersmile, is the brainchild of Dr. Irwin Smigel, the founder of the American Society for Dental Aesthetics.
As the press release tells it, the Halachic dental debate was irrelevant to Smigel, who characterizes himself as a kind of Hebraic oral-health crusader. “While we realize there are extensive rabbinic debates regarding the kashrut of toothpaste, for us there was no debate, and we make only kosher products,” he declared in the release. “Those who are forbidden to eat pork or certain kinds of meats should beware of any toothpaste which isn’t kosher yet contains glycerin.”
SOS. Kashrut emergency. You’ve got a dozen people waiting for dinner, you have just used a milky spoon in a pot of chicken soup, and you want to know if the soup is still kosher. Oh, and you’re Haredi, so you can’t draw on the expertise of Rabbi Google (Haredi leaders have banned the Web). What do you do?
Introducing Kav Yashir Lehalachah, which translates to Direct Line to Jewish Law. It is a new telephone service that solves halachic problems for members of Israel’s Haredi public at any time, day or night.
Just launched, it replaces a number of rabbi-rosters, which circulated in the Haredi community to inform people which rabbis were available at various times on various days. Though theoretically there was somebody on call most of the time, shifts were always being switched and people often found it more complicated to work out who to call than to solve their problem.
But while Haredim may – officially at least – not use the internet, the demand for instant information has very much become a feature of their community. This is why the roster-rabbis, when the public actually managed to find them, were constantly inundated with calls, and why the new hotline — +972 57 317 3100 — has been launched.
And in case you were wondering, no, it’s not out-sourcing to a call center in India.
It looks like matzo, it tastes like matzo, but it’s really…. bread.
The Chief Rabbinate’s Fraud Division has put out a statement urging all Israeli shoppers to be on the lookout for certain brands of matzo thought to have been baked in contravention of Passover rules, meaning eating it on Passover is, religiously-speaking, the same as eating bread.
“In a raid that took place on March 22 involving police and Chief Rabbinate Kashrut Enforcement Unit officials, a relatively large quantity of hand shmura matzot were found in a facility in the Be’er Tuvia industrial zone,” wrote Yaakov Sabag and Rafi Yochani, two senior rabbinate officials, who went on to explain that the matzot were found in packaging that falsely claimed the supervision of various rabbis.
There are, claimed the rabbinate officials, “serious concerns” that the matzot are “outright chametz.”
Officials also fear that the flour used was not sifted to remove insects (as per requirements for a kashrut seal), and that the ceremony of separating a portion of the dough known as challah — a prerequisite for matzot to be kosher — did not take place.
“These matzot have already been distributed around the country, in some cases being sold too inexpensively (and this alone should be cause for suspicion),” wrote the rabbinate officials. “In other cases however, they are being sold to assist non-profit and Torah organizations (unaware of the reality of the matzot).
“It is incumbent upon people in communities to print and circulate this warning and to place it in shuls and elsewhere to warn the general public,” the statement read.