Soul Food

Monday, January 18, 2010

A widely-circulated article points to the growing popularity of kosher food among non-Jews in the United States. In Europe, meanwhile, the campaign for animal welfare has revived old charges of Jewish carnality, and a number of countries have gone so far as to ban kosher slaughtering.  

Articulating both the meaning of kashrut and its many regulations has challenged Jewish thinkers, Maimonides among them, for millennia. Today, some Jews find in the tradition's dietary discipline an inspiration for a contemporary ethics of consumption. Others promote, alongside traditional strictures, a system of ethical certifications of kosher products. 

In the end, though, kashrut may be most about what it most seems to be: a biblically ordained and distinctively Jewish fellowship of the table in which family religious recipes set the tone even as all are welcome to join in.

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