September 29, 2014

A Positive Spin on Kosher by an Unlikely Source

NEW YORK — Signs that kosher is slowly making it upstream into the mainstream are everywhere, including from an unlikely source like The Atlantic which recently positioned kosher as trendy and even part of hipster culture. "With their embrace of sustainable food culture, Millennial Jews are shaping a blossoming culinary movement, and bringing non-Jews along with them," the article explained. The Atlantic highlighted Mason and Mug, The Gefilteria and Grow and Behold, “businesses that make it cool to keep kosher while being environmentally conscious. Although designed to serve Jewish families, these companies attract outsiders by supporting family farm operations and serving fresh, high-quality food. Although keeping kosher is a complicated undertaking, the practice lends itself to a generation of eaters who are paying close attention to how the food on their plates was processed and prepared. Likely influenced by this trend toward more thoughtful eating habits, young Jews have been shown to find food laws more compelling than their older co-religionists.”

The Atlantic quoted the 2013 Pew study of American Jews which noted that 27% of Jews ages 18 to 29 reported keeping kosher in their homes, compared to 16 percent of Jews ages 50 and older. These numbers are incredibly important to an industry that in many cases is deeply concerned about making the transition to a new generation of kosher consumers with the obvious exception of the Orthodox. So that the growth of kosher should not be mistaken for its being “trendy” and part of the popular culture there is the caveat in both the Atlantic article and an earlier New York Times piece that hints at the fact that the swing toward kosher may really be an attempt to keeping tradition alive, a welcome sign for rabbis and kashrus organizations alike.