Religion and Food: Judaism
I shall begin with Judaism. The Jewish people have a 5,750 year history, tracing their origins to Biblical times. There are an estimated 14 million followers of the religion in the world.
Jewish law requires that Jews can't eat certain foods, such as pork, certain seafood, food without the blood removed, and may not mix dairy and meat products at the same time (who would WANT to?). These laws also describe how animals must be slaughtered as to minimize suffering.
Kashrut is the body of Jewish law dealing with what foods they can and cannot eat and how those foods must be prepared and eaten. "Kashrut" comes from the Hebrew word root.
The reason why Jewish people do not eat certain foods is basically because the Torah (the Jewish holy book) says so! The Torah does not specify any reasons for these laws. Some Jewish people say that dietary laws in Judaism are a test of your self-control.
Here is a simple list of the "kashrut" rules:
- Certain animals may not be eaten at all. This restriction includes the flesh, organs, eggs and milk of the forbidden animals.
- Of the animals that may be eaten, the birds and mammals must be killed in accordance with Jewish law.
- All blood must be drained from the meat or broiled out of it before it is eaten.
- Certain parts of permitted animals may not be eaten.
- Meat (the flesh of birds and mammals) cannot be eaten with dairy. Fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables and grains can be eaten with either meat or dairy. (According to some views, fish may not be eaten with meat).
- Utensils that have come into contact with meat may not be used with dairy, and vice versa. Utensils that have come into contact with non-kosher food may not be used with kosher food. This applies only where the contact occurred while the food was hot.
- Grape products made by non-Jews may not be eaten.
These rules sound pretty tough, right? I'll be back next week with a continuation, "Religion and Food: Islam". I've already done the research on it and it's really interesting!