FOXNews (March 8, 2010)
"A group of Ultra-orthodox Rabbis from New York have declared several types of fish, including wild salmon, unfit to be called kosher because they can contain tiny parasitic worms that can escape the organs of the fish and find their way into the meat.
"Lock up your lox, smoked fish are under assault!
"A group of ultra-orthodox rabbis from New York have declared several types of fish, including wild salmon, unfit to be called kosher because they can contain tiny parasitic worms that can escape the organs of the fish and find their way into the meat.
"In the organization's opinion, observant Jews can no longer safely eat many versions of salted and smoked delicacies like lox, nova and sable, traditional favorites during the upcoming Passover season...."
At issue is Anisakis. That's a tiny worm that can cause serious intestinal problems in humans if ingested alive. Which can happen if you eat fish that hasn't been sufficiently cooked. Or frozen. This particular parasite doesn't seem all that tough to me: but then, I live in central Minnesota where some invertebrate bloodsuckers are really hard to kill. That's another topic.
I didn't know that "Jewish teachings prohibit the consumption of visible parasites, whether they are alive or dead, particularly ones that enter the meat after the host animal has died -- though the interpretation of the rules is continually open to debate." Actually, I still don't know it: but that's what it says in the article. (I'm a devout Catholic, and long ago learned that old-school news coverage of our faith tends to be fictional - which is yet another topic.) FOXNews, where I've been able to check assertions, tends to be fairly reliable.
Still: If you want something authoritative on what's kosher and what's not, ask a rabbi whose opinion you trust. Me? I'm a gentile - and have not researched fish and this parasite.
My household eats seafood on a fairly regular basis, so anything about how healthy fish is - or isn't - is of very practical interest to me. I printed the article and handed it off to my wife. "Doctor Mom" is the subject expert for food, nutrition and health in this household. One of my sisters-in-law actually is a medical doctor - and health maintenance and healing go 'way back on her side of the family.
Why should an up-to-date, educated Westerner be interested in the dietary habits of a group of people who were contemporary with the Babylonian and later the Roman Empire?
For starters, they're still around. Babylon isn't. We call the territory that Hammurabi ruled Iraq these days. Being kosher probably isn't the only factor: but I figure that staying healthy helped the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob keep their identity as the millennia rolled by. (That family has quite a long and colorful history. "The Patriarchs and the Origins of Judaism" (Judaism 101) seems like a pretty good place to start.)
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A Catholic Citizen in America (January 22, 2010)
- "NutritionData: Looks Like a Common-Sense Food Information Resource"
(July 24, 2009)
- "Like, Wow! Medicinal Marijuana in Minnesota"
(April 28, 2008)
- " 'Catholics and Muslims along with the fake Jews all are Satanic Cults' - Who Knew?"
A Catholic Citizen in America (April 2, 2009)
About that 'marijuana' post: I grew up in the sixties. I know about "Tell Your Children"/ "Reefer Madness" (1936). I'm also not among the vocal groups who declare everything they don't like (or, I suspect, understand) "Satanic." On the other hand, I've never 'done drugs.' With a brain like mine, who needs to?
That said, although I'm sure that you could find a rabbi who doesn't agree, it looks like hashish isn't kosher. Not for Passover, anyway. But don't take this blog post at face value: It's the same source I use for those weird 'fashion' photos.
- "No hash matzos?"
Oddly Enough, Reuters blog (March 28, 2007)