Saturday, April 23, 2016

Pesach, Kashrut, and Eating Well

Christians are most aware of Jewish Pesach, or Passover, when it coincides with Holy Week, the days leading to Good Friday and Easter Sunday. This year Passover began last evening, almost exactly a month later than Holy Week. There are specific foods related to this meal of deliverance, which Jesus and his disciples would have eaten in solemn remembrance in what we call the Last Supper, on Maundy Thursday.

I'm thinking about the observation made recently by Mark Stoll about the number of food producers and sellers such as Whole Foods which specialize in nutritious and organic products which were started by Jews. The question is whether the historic commitment to kashrut, or kosher dietary laws has resulted in a stronger concern for healthy eating amongst Jews, even those who might be secular. In Stoll's book Inherit the Holy Mountain he also mentions Michael Pollan, who was born into a Jewish family, and who writes extensively about our mindfulness (or lack thereof) around food and it's preparation. Pollan's book and Netflix series called Cooked are thoughtful explorations of the theme, although his enthusiasm for whole-hog barbecue suggests he is not concerned about observing kashrut!

Who knows! I hope that last evening's Passover meal was deeply meaningful for Jewish participants. Yahweh be with you.

Here is an interesting New Yorker article on changes to dietary rules for Pesach.


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