What Does It Mean to Keep Kosher?

The many elements of a kosher diet.

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Halav Yisrael (Cholov Yisroel)

In the past, some farmers were known to mix milk from non-kosher animals, such as horses and camels, in with the milk of kosher animals, such as cows and goats. This milk would not be considered kosher because it contained products of non-kosher animals. As a result, the custom of only drinking milk produced by Jewish farmers came about, so as to ensure that the milk one received was unquestionably kosher. This practice is called Halav Yisrael, or Cholov Yisroel, which means Jewish milk. However, today it is against United States law to sell as "milk" anything other than what comes from a cow. So, the practice of only drinking Halav Yisrael milk has become less popular, though it is still present in some Orthodox communities.


Many people have different rules for what they will eat in their home, and what they eat outside their home. So, they may only purchase ingredients with rabbinic supervision for use in their home, but eat in restaurants that do not have rabbinic supervision. This practice is not based in Jewish law, but more in a desire to maintain traditions in the home.

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Tamar Fox

Tamar Fox is a writer and editor living in Philadelphia. Her children's book, No Baths at Camp, was published in 2013 by Kar-Ben, and her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, the Jerusalem Post, Tablet Magazine, TheJewniverse.com, and many other publications.