Eating kosher in Israel is a way of life. While it is dictated in the Torah for all Jews, it is also a standard of living in Israel. There are many dietary rules to living kosher, and some of them are different for different times of year. So how do people eat kosher in Israel?
When you go on tour, you should be prepared to eat kosher in practically all hotels and many restaurants. This is an excellent way to learn about the culture in general, so enjoy the possible change in your normal diet!
No Bacon Cheeseburgers When Eating Kosher in Israel
As many know, pork is a big no-no when it comes to eating kosher. In fact only split hoof animals are considered kosher. These include beef, sheep and goats. In addition to having split hooves, the animals should also chew their cud, being a ruminate. You may say, “wait, don’t pigs have split hooves?”… and you’d be correct, however they don’t chew their cud, and they are omnivores, meaning they eat meat and plants, so they are therefore not considered kosher.
Animals can not die of natural causes and must be killed a certain way and blessed by a Jewish Rabbi in order to be considered kosher.
Some cheeses are considered to be kosher as they need to contain rennet, a particular enzyme. These include cheddar, mozzarella, and swiss cheeses.
You can drink milk, but the milk must not be served for a meal that includes meat and must come a set time apart from the meal. Cheese and beef are never served in the same meal, though some may allow for chicken and cheese.
Eating Kosher During Passover
Passover is one of the holiest periods of the Jewish calendar. It marks the freeing of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt following the plagues. Passover is from the 15th to the 22nd day of the Hebrew month of Nissan, which this year falls on April 15-23rd on the Gregorian calendar.
When passover is celebrated, a new set of rules when it comes to eating kosher become relevant. In a way it becomes “super kosher”. In addition to the normal rules of eating kosher, all yeast products must be removed from the home entirely. In Hebrew these products are known as “chametz”. You instead eat matzah, which is unleavened bread.
Exodus 12:14 and 15: “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.”
Not only can you not consume yeast during Passover, but in order to be kosher for passover, you must also clean your kitchen and all of your pots and pans with boiling water to make sure you have truly cleansed your home of it and there is no chance of inadvertently consuming yeast by way of casual contact. Some choose to cover the kitchen up completely with counter covers and have passover kitchen tools and others choose to go on cruises or visit hotels that are kosher for passover in order to not be concerned with making their own homes meet the vigorous standards.
When Jesus had the last supper, the bread would have certainly been kosher for passover, as Jesus was an observant Jew, therefore, the bread would have been unleavened and pure, as was He serving as the passover sacrifice.
We hope you have a blessed Passover and Holy Week wherever you are and hope that possibly we will see you “Next Year, in Jerusalem!”. If you would like to consider visiting Israel next spring, or any time, please contact us so we can put together your risk-free proposal and reservation!