December 28, 2015

Kosher Moves into the Mainstream of Jewish Life

I recently met a young rabbi of a small Manhattan synagogue who showered me with compliments about this year’s Kosherfest. “It was simply amazing, but you won’t believe why I was there.” He continued: “I brought a group of my congregants to show them how easy it was to keep kosher these days and how broad and diverse kosher was today.” Several Chabad rabbis told me that they routinely organize trips to supermarkets to educate their congregants about kosher, particularly before Passover. There is no question that kosher once designated as a mere relic of the shtetl and the Lower East Side is taking a key seat at the Jewish table.

There is much evidence of this renewed interest in kosher, not only in the resurgence of kosher for Passover sales in many markets that one rabbi labeled as “having already closed the lights on kosher.” It is a key theme for secular Jewish newspapers that once covered only scandal but now routinely include as part of their coverage of local and national Jewish life. In truth, kosher has also become an important part of their revenue stream, particularly retailers who advertise their kosher products. It is certainly an important source of revenue for Passover. But many Jews are intrigued by the level of quality and taste of the kosher foods and wines. All of this bodes well for the kosher market still making the transition from baby boomers to the new millennials.