Judaism Dietary Laws and Practices

Michael Garfinkle B1/3

Dietary Overview

Judaism follows strict dietary laws, based around meat and dairy, and the preparation of meat. The general rule is that the only mammal meats that can be eaten are the meats of animals with cloven hooves that chew their cud. The only sea animals that can be eaten are ones with scales. Shellfish are prohibited. In preparation, it is essential that all blood is drawn from the meat before it can be eaten. The torah states that one cannot "boil a kid in its mother's milk" (Ex. 23:19; Ex. 34:26; Deut. 14:21); therefore the dairy of an animal and the meat must always be separate when preparing and eating. Holidays like Passover include the consumption of matzah, an unleavened bread that was eaten when the israelites were escaping from Egypt, but did not have time to let the bread rise. Not all people follow the food practices because there are different levels of intensity for Jewish practices. A conservative or orthodox Jew would keep kosher and follow of ceremonial food practices. A reform Jew might not, or is to necessarily as strict about following the food practices. Keeping kosher requires not only being careful what you eat, but how you eat it and how it is prepared. All kosher items must be cooked in kosher pans, and all food must be eaten on kosher plates (plates that have not been in contact with non kosher foods).