Personal Stories: Becoming Kosher

If WE Can Do It, So Can You!!
Naomi Lazerow

I was raised in a home where I was told, “you’re Jewish.” That was the extent of my Jewish education. On the Jewish holidays, we went to my grandmother’s and ate the appropriate foods. On Passover we ate matzah but didn’t have a seder. My mother, a widow with four small children – my three younger brothers and me – lived in a non-Jewish neighborhood in Baltimore. We stood out as different, even though we didn’t really know what made us different. My husband Carl was raised in a very assimilated family and attended a large Reform Temple. Needless to say, when we married, we never would have predicted we’d have a kosher home some day.

Why Eat Kosher?

Adapted from: On Judaism: Conversations on being Jewish in Today’s World, by Rabbi Emanuel Feldman, pages 219-236. With permission from Artscroll/Mesorah Publications, Ltd.

From the first man and woman we learn about the significance of eating. Adam and Eve were given simple, clear instructions. As guardians of the Garden of Eden they were permitted to taste everything in the Garden. There was only one restriction: they could not eat from one particular tree. If they did, they would die. Isn’t it curious that the Creator’s first conversation with Adam and Eve focuses on the do’s and don’t about food. Superficially, there is nothing about these instructions that strikes one as having implications for eternity or immortality. Just – this you may eat, that you must avoid.

Keeping Kosher…and Staying Kosher!

It’s one thing to keep kosher; it’s quite another thing to stay kosher! Kashrus mix-ups are inevitable, even in the most scrupulous of kosher homes. So, when in doubt about a mix-up, don’t feel bad or embarrassed about asking a shaila (question in Jewish Law) of a Rav (Orthodox rabbi) or kashrus organization.

How to Make a Home Kosher

Healthy food choices and dieting are 21st century buzzwords. It seems that more than ever people are making positive dietary changes. For thousands of years, Judaism has offered a dietary blueprint. Not only does the Torah guide us in our food choices, it commands us to separate dairy and meat, and wait a customary length of time between eating meat and dairy dishes. Today, we find Jews of all ages and backgrounds with a growing interest in kashrus and kosher homemaking. For first-hand accounts of people who have kashered their homes click here.