At Beverly Hills Carmel, we respect the Jewish tradition of Kosher. With many of our residents coming from Jewish households, we make sure our four-course meals are Kosher. But what exactly is Kosher, and why is it so important? Read on to learn more about the history of Kosher and its place in cultural Jewish food traditions.
What Does Kosher Mean?
The term Kashrut, or Kosher, comes from the Hebrew word meaning "fit," "proper" or "correct." Kosher foods are ones that are suitable to eat according to the Torah, the holy scripture of the Jewish people.
The rules surrounding orthodox Kosher are complex and extensive, including everything from foods you cannot eat together, foods you cannot eat at all, as well as specific rules about how certain foods are processed and prepared. For example, the Torah does not permit the consumption of the blood of any animal. After the animal is slaughtered, it must undergo a process of salting and cleaning to remove all traces of blood. The salting process does not leave the meat tasting salty at all since the meat is washed and cleaned thoroughly to remove all the salt before it is sent out for distribution. Kosher law also requires a thorough check for blemishes or any signs of disease in the animals before they go to the slaughterhouse. If there are any impurities, the animal will not be eaten.
Keeping Kosher in culturally Jewish communities has evolved into a way to define what foods and food pairings are normal or as a way to remain connected to Jewish heritage. It's less about ritual and more about a celebration of our culture through sharing delicious food.
Why do We Observe Kosher?
There are many theories as to why the Torah includes dietary rules. Some believe that it was an attempt to ensure people were eating healthy, clean foods. We observe Kosher as a way to stay connected to our Jewish heritage and enjoy traditional Jewish foods. These can be anything from the Eastern European foods many Ashkenazi Jews brought with them (knish, anyone?) to Judeo-Spanish foods as well as Mediterranean style foods from Turkey and Greece. As Jewish peoples have traveled the world, we've made regional dishes our own by blending Kosher preparations with them.
A huge way to remain connected to cultural tradition is by cooking and eating with friends and family!
What Foods are Kosher?
There are three main categories of Kosher foods — meat, dairy and Pareve. To be considered Kosher, meat must come from an animal that chews its cud and has split hooves. For this reason, animals such pigs and rabbits are not Kosher. Cow, bison, sheep, goat and deer, however, are acceptable Kosher foods. Fowl such as chicken, duck, geese and turkey are all Kosher.
When it comes to dairy products, only those that come from Kosher animals are deemed Kosher. Pareve, the third category, refers to neutral foods — food that is neither meat nor dairy but is Kosher. Neutral foods include fruits, grains and vegetables.
While someone keeping Kosher could eat any of these foods separately, he could not always eat them together. According to Kosher tradition, meat and dairy products are not eaten together. Pareve foods, however, can be eaten together with dairy or meat products. There are also rules regarding the utensils used to prepare the food (those used for dairy cannot later be used for meat products).
Meals at Beverly Hills Carmel
At Beverly Hills Carmel, we celebrate Jewish traditions. To us, a meal is not just a meal. It is a delicious way to stay connected to our culture and the people we love.
By choosing Beverly Hills Carmel for your senior living needs, you can be assured of the highest possible standards of community and care. Visit our website or contact us today to learn more about our facility.