Published on: May 8, 2009The Los Angeles Times this morning has a piece about “eco kosher” cuisine – food that provides a way for observant Jews “to strengthen their ties to their faith and to live out a Jewish imperative to protect the Earth.”
According to the story, “growing numbers of people are choosing to express their values through the food they put on their tables, altering the most basic day-to-day decisions about nourishment … The movement has become so popular in recent years that synagogues increasingly are forging relationships with farmers, farm education programs are starting up and Jewish ‘sustainability’ conferences are attracting sold-out crowds. At a three-day gathering in Northern California in December, volunteers even learned how to kill, pluck, salt and rinse their own turkeys.”
The Times reports that this higher level of consciousness is a kind of evolution in thinking that has its roots in the Bible but has been affected by recent events: “For many Jews, the question was once whether to follow the Torah's dietary laws. The book of Leviticus, for example, requires that meat come from animals that chew their cud and have split hooves in order to be considered kosher. But for ‘eco-kosher’ Jews, those laws have come to represent only part of the equation -- particularly as they relate to the consumption of meat.
“Kosher meat has long enjoyed a reputation -- among Jews and non-Jews alike – for high quality and an expectation that it is produced in an ethical manner. But that status was badly shaken last year by allegations that the country's largest kosher slaughterhouse, in Iowa, abused workers, animals and the environment.”
And so Jews, their faith shaken to some degree by food safety violations, had to find a new path.
It is not just people of the Jewish faith. The Times writes that the American Presbyterian Church “has designed a curriculum for high school students and young adults titled ‘Just Eating? Practicing Our Faith at the Table.’” And, the “General Assembly of Unitarian Universalists Assn … last year selected ‘Ethical Eating: Food and Environmental Justice’ as a four-year topic of study and action by its 1,000 congregations.”
- KC's View:
- Seems to me that the notions of not taking food for granted, of finding sustainable ways to feed ourselves with a focus on quality, are noble of spirit and even transcend specific approaches to the spiritual.
They say that consumers are undergoing change snow, and that it is difficult to know whether these changes will be long-term or sort-term. But it is important to remember that some of the changes taking place having nothing to do with recession, but rather are focused on a deepening appreciation for the benefits – spiritual and physical – of the dinner table.