Fast Facts About Jewish Diets And Restrictions

Posted by Samantha Mary Jones on December 15th, 2021

Jews have several rules and restrictions when it comes to their daily diet. From staple food dishes to fine dining meals, every dish is made according to the rules. The Jewish dietary laws are known as the Kashrut. They’re particularly defined for the observance of Kosher and are set forth in the Holy Book of Torah as well as in Talmud. In Hebrew, the word Kosher means healthy and fit, and the stipulated laws allow and disallow what is considered fit to eat. These laws are the direct representation of Jewish cuisine.

Jews are very specific about what they eat and how they eat it. Moreover, there are several Jewish occasions that have their own dietary restrictions, such as the Passover. Although the basic dietary laws mentioned in the Talmud are unchangeable, they might be interpreted and followed differently.  This responds to the innovation and development and manufacturing of processed food items.

In short, the food Jews are allowed to eat is known as Kosher, and the community uses the Kashrut laws to ensure that all the restrictions are duly met.

In this post, we’ll cover some facts about the Jewish dietary restrictions that are a big part of the entire Jewish community across the globe. Jews living in Israel, USA, UK, or anywhere else consume food and drink according to their religious teachings. Let’s get to know them without further ado.

Jewish Diet Restrictions Aren’t Complex

While some people think that Jews have a complex array of rules pertaining to their diet, it’s not that complex. The international and local scopes of these restrictions vary greatly in the modern world due to different manufacturing and supply chain processes.

Moreover, newer technologies and modern food development techniques have allowed the community to produce a vast variety of Kosher food. Hence, the Jewish dietary rulebook isn’t as stringent and complex as it might seem. There are well-defined service establishments and Jewish authorities that review and approve food companies, restaurants, and caterers for adherence.

Moreover, they also define and generate awareness about Kosher foods, their trademark symbols, and different ways to prepare certified dishes with Kosher status. Additionally, everything from meat to dairy, including staples like wheat and rice, Kosher laws define edible and inedible items in detail.

Here’s the complete breakdown of Jewish diet restrictions:

Animal Products Have a Long List of Rules

In order to be edible, there’s an extensive list of rules that meat products must fall within. Jews are very serious about this category because there’s a lot that can’t be eaten.

  • Animals like pigs, shellfish, rabbits, and reptiles may not be eaten at all.
  • Mammals and split hooves such as cows, sheep, goats, and deer are considered Kosher.
  • Fishes must have fins and removable scales to be Kosher.
  • Torah mentions specific birds that are edible; these mostly include the species that don’t hunt or prey.
  • Eggs, milk, butter, and other dairy items obtained from kosher animals like goats and cows are edible. Eggs must always be checked to ensure that there’s no blood vessel or traces of growth inside the yolk.

In the animal category, birds must be slaughtered as per the Jewish guidelines known as Shechita. This process must be followed to ensure that all the blood is drained thoroughly and the meat is broiled before consumption.

Some Food Items are Forbidden: Treif

In the Jewish food rules, there are certain items that are completely forbidden, known as Treif. This category includes non-kosher animals, including birds that prey, fishes without fins and scales, pork, and animals that aren’t slaughtered according to the Shechita rule.

The Book of Deuteronomy (12:23) forbids Jews to taste, eat, or drink any kind of blood. Hence, it’s very important to follow the slaughter guides to make birds and kosher animals non-treif.

Some Food Items are Neutral: Parev

There are some food items that are considered neutral in the Jewish community. These are known as Parev. Non-meat, non-dairy, and non-seafood items such as veggies, fruits, nuts, pasta, and rice fall into the Parev category. However, all of these food items must be washed and cleaned thoroughly before eating; otherwise, they might break kosher rules.

Keeping Kosher in Other Countries

Jewish families live across the world. They are present in different countries, including the US, UK, and Canada, and are a significant representation of the Jewish community and religious teachings. They not only follow the Jewish diet laws but also motivate non-Jews to adopt the Kosher diet to become healthier.

However, sometimes, one might find oneself confused in a non-Jewish country. For example, if you’re in Israel, you’ll experience no issue finding kosher food items. But this might be a challenge abroad. To ensure that an eatery or store sells kosher food, try looking for synagogues nearby; look for certified labels; ask the store owner or the restaurant manager, or hit up Google to find supermarkets and eateries popular in the Jewish community.

Some ingredients that are rendered in non-kosher products are:

  • Casein
  • Carminic acid
  • Fish oils
  • Stearic Acid
  • Wine Vinegar, Wine, and Brandy
  • Gelatine
  • Glycerine
  • Bread shortenings
  • Margarine without Kosher label, etc.

About the Author

Druze is a Hebrew language expert and an instructor at Ulpan-Or, a leading Hebrew language instruction institution online. He regularly contributes to our website using his experiences, knowledge, and ideas.

Ulpan-Or is an amazing online platform for people in the US, Australia, Canada, etc. that are interested in learning Hebrew. They offer native Israeli teachers who know how to help students learn Hebrew fast. For more details on Ulpan-Or’s online learning, Hebrew learning for Israel immersion, or self-study courses, visit their website today!

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Samantha Mary Jones

About the Author

Samantha Mary Jones
Joined: February 17th, 2020
Articles Posted: 7

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