Kosher holidays are easy to celebrate

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Kosher symbols
Some of the most common symbols for kosher on packaged food
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Enjoy holiday food while keeping kosher

Jewish people who strictly adhere to their religion practice eating kosher food. While maintaining a kosher diet entails following certain requirements, kosher holidays can be celebrated with food just as delicious and creative as those served on non-Jewish holidays!

Kosher food must be prepared a specific way and without certain ingredients. However, that doesn't have to limit you; you can still enjoy holiday favorites, such as delicious cakes and tarts, and even cookies and brownies!

You can celebrate kosher holidays such as Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, by giving friends or family a gift basket of kosher goodies. Or save yourself some hassle from cooking and order one for yourself! Practicing kosher eating does not mean that you have to avoid alcohol, either. You are free to celebrate with the many varieties of kosher wine.

Kosher food means it is allowed according to Jewish dietary laws, called kashrut, which originally appear in the Torah. It is not a "style" of food, like Mexican food. Rather, it is a method of producing and cooking food. There are a few items that cannot be eaten according to the rules, but for the most part, those who eat kosher food can enjoy the same types of food the rest of us do. Some think kosher food means it is blessed by a rabbi, but this is not true; kosher food is not blessed. It is simply made a certain way with certain incredients.

The different branches of Judaism view kosher eating differently; some eat only kosher foods while some do not practice eating kosher at all. Those who practice Reform Judaism generally do not eat kosher and see it as an antiquated tradition. Many who practice Conservative Judaism eat kosher, though some do not follow it very strictly (for example, some eat kosher at home but not when out, or just on high holidays such as Passover). Orthodox Jews, the most fundamental denomination of Judaism, strictly adhere to kosher eating. This can make day-to-day life somewhat challenging, as most restaurants do not serve kosher food, but it is easy to find kosher food at the grocery store or make it at home. Orthodox Jews often say prayers before eating the food.

Some of the kosher eating principles are:
*Birds of prey are not kosher.
*Meat products and dairy products cannot be served at the same meal, cooked or served with the same utensils, or even stored together.   
*Seafood must have scales and fins to be considered kosher.
*Animals must be slaughtered humanely to be considered kosher.
*Meat can only be eaten from animals with cloven hooves and that chew cud.
*Milk and eggs must come from kosher animals.

You may wonder how to tell if food at the grocery store is kosher. Donít worry Ė it is very easy! Packaged food that is kosher will have a symbol on it indicating that it kosher. There are several different symbols for kosher, as there are a variety of agencies that approve whether products are kosher (and they each have their own symbol). When a food is labeled kosher, it means that the manufacturing process is inspected to make sure the foods are produced according to Jewish kosher laws. Most grocery stories have a small aisle that contains all kosher food. Some grocery stores in Jewish neighborhoods have entire kosher sections of the stores, including kosher delis, bakeries and frozen sections.

Remember, while kosher eating does mean there are specific principals to follow, it doesn't mean that you can't enjoy great food and wine on the holidays!

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