Is It Kosher?
Finding Kosher Food
According to Jewish law, the three basic elements of keeping kosher are:
- Avoiding any non-kosher animals (fish that don’t have fins and scales, land animals that do not both chew their cud and have cleft hooves, most birds);
- Avoiding eating meat and dairy together;
- Only eating meat that was slaughtered in a certain way.
Kosher Animals by Category
The general rules are:
Only those with cloven hoof and that chew their cuds, such as oxen, sheep, goats, deer, gazelles, roebuck, wild goats, ibex, antelopes, and mountain sheep. Pigs — the best-known non-kosher mammal — are not kosher because they do not chew their cuds. Other non kosher mammals include camels and rabbits.
The Torah lists a number of forbidden birds, but does not specify which ones are allowed. The most common birds that Jews have traditionally considered kosher are chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese and pigeons. Among the explicitly forbidden birds are: vultures, ostriches, hawks and sea gulls.
Only those with fins and scales; for example, cod, tuna, salmon, herring. Shellfish of all kinds are forbidden.
Reptiles, Amphibians and Insects
All are forbidden, except for four types of locusts.
Other Requirements for Kosher Meat
In addition to specifying which animals can and cannot be eaten, Jewish dietary law requires that land animals be slaughtered according specific protocols. There must be no blood left in the meat before it is prepared. The meat of animals that were hunted or were found after they died of natural causes is not kosher.
Meat and Milk
Because those observing kashrut cannot eat meat and dairy foods together, this means that a meal is either a meat meal or a dairy meal (or Pareve for that matter). You cannot even have meat and dairy at the same table; that is, one person can’t eat a bagel with cream cheese at the same table where someone is eating fried chicken.
To clarify further, you can’t have a piece of steak on one plate, prepared without any dairy, then turn to a second plate and chomp down on a piece of cheese, even if you’ve swallowed the steak.
To ensure that meat and milk not be eaten together in any way, it is customary to wait a certain amount of time between meals. After eating meat, the wait time varies, but the generally accepted amount of time to wait is six hours. Different traditions developed as to the exact amount of time that must pass between meat and dairy meals. Dependent on where one is from will influence the amount of hours kept between eating Meat and milk. The amount of hours vary between one hour, three hours or six hours.
It is the tradition of our school to keep 3 hours between eating meat and milk.