Kosher laws are Jewish religions laws on which foods Jewish people should eat and how they are prepared. A rabbi actually does not have to bless food to make it kosher, but in the modern world when it is difficult to know precisely what ingredients are in our food, it is sometimes helpful to have a rabbi review the ingredients to ensure the food is kosher (Kashrut: Jewish Dietary Laws). Kosher is observed all year round, not simply during Jewish holidays.
Kosher laws can be complicated and complex, but some of the more common kosher practices include; not eating or cooking meat and dairy together, after eating meat one must wait a few hours to consume dairy, only certain animals can be eaten, you cannot consume dairy from an animal that is also forbidden from being eaten, animals must be drained of all blood before cooking it, meat and fish should not be eaten together, and eating certain internal organs such as liver is prohibited (Is it Kosher?)
I was quite surprised by several of these kosher laws. I understand the rationale behind only eating certain animals, it is common for many culture to not eat certain animals because they are considered unclean. I was surprised especially by the provisions prohibiting eating meat and dairy together and that all animals must be fully drained of blood before being prepared, I would interested to see what the rationale behind those provisions are.
The question of why the Jewish kosher laws were written is long debated among scholars. There is nothing explicitly in the Tora explaining why the dietary laws were passed (Kashrut: Jewish Dietary Laws). Many scholars however, have made their own conclusions as to why the dietary laws were passed, think it was simply a way to distinguish Jewish people from other, non-jewish people (Making Sense of Kosher Laws). Others have suggested that kosher laws were written for health reasons (Wolf). Some argue that kosher is healthier because the food is less susceptible to parasites and bacteria (What is “Kosher”). More than anything else though, it is clear following kosher laws is a way to show your commitment to Judaism (Making Sense of Kosher Laws).
While FDA laws make food safer to eat, and applies to all foods – kosher or not – kosher food has more ruled to follow, religions rules. In the recent past, the FDA and state officials have cited producers of kosher food for violations of food safety and animal cruelty (Wolf). With that in mind it does seem that perhaps a kosher diet is not significant today as kosher actually does not meet federal and state regulations in some cases. While the health benefits may not be as significant as it once was, that is irrelevant as the main reason Jewish people follow kosher laws is for religious purposes, not health related ones.
I do not think I would go kosher, as I am not Jewish. It appears clear that the main reason people follow kosher today is not because of health reason, or any other reason, but to solidify their sincerity to their religion. If you are not Jewish, it seems to be a bit pointless to follow kosher law. Further to a certain extent, kosher foods are so common today in grocery stores and super markets that many people likely unknowingly eat kosher often. Kosher laws seem like they could be difficult to follow, for example who would you know whether an animal was completely drained of blood before it was prepared? That would be difficult to verify every single time. Mostly though, I really like cheeseburgers.
“Is It Kosher?” n.d. Kosherquest.org. Web. 26 Jul 2015. http://www.kosherquest.org/book.php?id=SOME_GENERAL_LAWS_OF_KASHRUS.htm
“Kashrut: Jewish Dietary Laws.” 2011. Jewfaq.org. Web. 26 Jul 2015. http://www.jewfaq.org/kashrut.htm.
“Making Sense of Kosher Laws.” July, 9, 2012. Bible Archaeology Society. Web. 26 Jul 2015. http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/daily-life-and-practice/making-sense-of-kosher-laws/
“What is ‘Kosher’”. n.d. Kosher Supervision. Web. 26 Jul 2015. http://www.kof-k.org/kosher
Wolf, Bonny. “Safer For Your Soul, But Is Kosher Healthier Too?” Sep. 4, 2010. NPR.org. Web. 26 Jul 2015. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129649433