Kosher Gift Giving 101
What makes something kosher? Why would you need to give a kosher gift? If you are looking on the internet for the answers to these questions, you will find a lot of sites that sell kosher gifts, but not much else.
However, with a bit of digging, you can find some things out about Kashrut – which are the dietary laws followed by people of the Jewish faith. This goes beyond telling you what you can and cannot eat if you are Jewish. It also tells you how the foods have to be prepared and even how to eat them. This includes rules on how the animals that are allowed to be eaten must be killed. It also tells you which parts of animals are allowed to be eaten.
Some of these rules say that if you eat fish, that fish must have both scales and fins. Fruit cannot be eaten from trees before the trees are a minimum of 4 years old. Any meat that is eaten has to have the blood drained completely out of it. You can’t mix things like meat and dairy either in cooking utensils or on plates. Things like milk that comes from non–kosher animals (animals that do not have both a cloven hoof and that ruminate), birds of prey, insects and anything that crawls on the sea floor or on land, and shellfish are all forbidden… as is anything made from grapes that are not grown by people of the Jewish faith.
This means that finding kosher gifts might seem to be something that can be difficult. It isn’t though. You can always give kosher gift baskets at those times when gift giving is appropriate. This can include the day of Purim, when each adult of the Jewish persuasion must send a minimum of 2 food items that are ready to eat to a minimum of one friend. You might also send a gift at Passover. Food gifts are always appreciated.
Why People Keep Kosher
Many people who grew up in a Jewish household keep kosher because it is how they were brought up. It feels like home to them. Maybe it is even a habit or just a personal proof of their religious conviction. Other people will keep kosher so that their kosher friends and family will be able to eat in their homes. Others might do it because of dietary allergies to things like dairy. Some people might be of the opinion that food that is kosher is safer or healthier. Then again, there are people who keep kosher because they are concerned about the welfare of animals because the shechita, or slaughter, is meant to be humane and fast.
It is no doubt that being kosher is a lifestyle choice. It also happens to be one of those choices of lifestyle that defines a person and gives clues about the community to which that person belongs. There are many traditions in the Jewish faith beyond being kosher, and one of those traditions is to take a “birthright trip” to Israel. There are even tours of the Holy Land that will take you on the Jesus Trail, which is a tour that goes from Nazareth, where Jesus grew to adulthood, to Capernaum, which is located on the Sea of Galilee.
A trip to the Holy Land might be preserving tradition, but so is recognizing and observing the Jewish holidays. Some of those holidays, such as Chanukah, and Passover, are well known. Others, such as Sukkot, Pesach, and Shavuot are not as familiar to people who are not Jewish.
All of these traditions are a part of what makes being Jewish so special. They teach about the history and culture of what is arguably the oldest religion on earth. They teach children to that traditions are important. They teach a way of life that, without these traditions, might have already vanished from the face of the earth. That is what makes being Jewish, and keeping kosher, means. That is why understanding kosher and kosher gift giving is such an important thing. If you are not Jewish, it is a fascinating thing to learn about if you have friends that are Jewish and it can tell you a lot about them.