This from the folks at Hazon, who bring you the New York Jewish Environmental Bike Ride, the Hazon Arava Israel Ride, and the Latkes to Lattes Conference on Jews, Food and Contemporary Life.
Anna Stevenson and company at Hazon are writing a 120-page curriculum on Jews, food and the contemporary questions of organic, natural, sustainable and the Jewish ethics relating to all. These are questions recently catapulted into the national spotlight by Michael Pollan’s recently published book The Omnivore’s Dilemma and the forthcoming Fast Food Nation the movie. This food curriculum will be published and rolled out in 2007 all over the country. So here’s her request: Tell her why you’re kosher, in however way you define it.
Weâ€™re coming at kosher from all directions nowâ€¦.an eco-kosher hechsher from the Conservative movement might make it harder for folks who need an Orthodox hechsher to find good eco-groovy food! Kosher is about limits on desire and has nothing to do with factory farming! Weâ€™re not sure if Aitanâ€™s goat cheese is kosher, with a big or little K, or just plain awesomeâ€¦
But what I want to know is: Why do you keep kosher?
Tradition meets modernity, round 5767. And I donâ€™t think itâ€™s just a fad. How we eat and why we eat is a question that is driving us crazy these days, and may end up leading to some real changes in our food systems 25 years from now, Jewish and otherwise. As we are proceeding with all these questions, I want to put some more oomph in this discussion. Why do we keep kosher in the first place? What are our own stories?
Personally, I do not keep kosher, didnâ€™t grow up with it, and donâ€™t feel particularly bound by it – though as Iâ€™m learning more one idea that is resonating with me quite strongly is the idea of limiting desire: I canâ€™t just have everything I want, just because I want it. Shopping at the farmerâ€™s market has had this effect â€” if itâ€™s Tuesday or Thursday, Iâ€™m not going to buy bread, because thereâ€™s no market near me on those days. Iâ€™m enjoying this experience of pulling back.
But this is a pretty small, and un-traditional, piece of kashrut real estate. If weâ€™re going to have this conversation, and we all come from such different places, letâ€™s get that on the table! I invite you to comment and answer the question: Why do you keep kosher?
Send your commentary (or request a copy when it’s done) by contacting Anna directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.