March 21, 2016

Kosher is a Big Story Even if You Don’t Eat Kosher

My Sixth Sense by Menachem Lubinsky

Open almost every Jewish newspaper and many secular papers in major cities and you are likely to read articles about some new development in kosher. The opening of a new kosher supermarket, a new restaurant or news about the availability of kosher food at the airport is a story. I recently asked a reporter covering a kosher story whether she ate kosher. “No, I don’t,” she responded, “but I am fascinated by just how dynamic an industry this is.” She continued: “With assimilation and the disenfranchisement of so many Jews, kosher is an antidote to that sad story.” In New York, where as many as 800,000 Jews eat kosher, the major dailies from the Wall Street Journal to the New York Times and the New York Post and Daily News routinely cover kosher. Secular Jewish weeklies like the Forward and Jewish Week also routinely cover kosher, often breaking stories.

When I posed this question as to why such enormous interest in kosher to a leading young rabbi, he responded as follows: “I think that kosher unites Jews, shows that a 3000 year old law can still be observed in modern times and frankly besides Israel and anti-Semitism is the only feel good story.” He went on to say that the way kosher has evolved, particularly in cities like New York, Miami and Los Angeles, eating kosher has become a real experience. The rabbi concluded: “Look kosher is real exciting; just look at the thousands of kosher foodies out there.”