What Do You Think? Ma Khosh’vim?

What Do You Think? Ma Khosh’vim?

December 20th, 2010 · 4 Comments · Jewish Living

I hate scary movies. I don’t go to them.Psycho may be a masterpiece, Rosemary’s Baby may be a classic, but I’ve never seen them and never will. Drag me to a horror movie, and I’ll have my eyes closed the entire time with my hands over my ears.

But Saturday night November 20th, I voluntarily watched a movie that scared me more than any of Hollywood’s concoctions. Food Inc. was the feature presentation at Temple Shalom’s adult education that night. A fascinating discussion and background on the Jewish perspective of kashrut followed the showing. Later, both Saturday and Sunday nights I had nightmares about the farm-factory treatment of chickens and cows and a company that has “patented life.” And Monday I started my new life, post-horror movie: I bought only organic fruit, read every food label, and requested “free-roam” meat from the man at the meat counter. (My Loblaw’s doesn’t carry any, although it does have “free-from” meat – i.e., free from antibiotic loading, etc.) It was scary all right: all the chemicals, the small selection of organic fruits and veggies, and the smaller meat selection.

Food Inc. is the scariest movie I’ve ever seen. And I’m glad I saw it. It is changing the way I shop and eat – and gives me a new perspective on the wisdom of Jewish food laws. The only problem with those Jewish food laws is that over the centuries they have been more and more narrowly defined, with the result that the foundation principles have been all but lost. But “kosher” isn’t determined by just the last few moments of an animal’s life and by keeping milk and meat separate. “Kosher” is about those larger issues. I say it’s time for Reform / Liberal / Progressive Jews to take back the language of Jewish food and restore its meaning of ‘fit, proper.’ It’s time to remind ourselves of the laws against mistreatment of animals, against the exploitation of labourers, about the connection between what we eat and our health, and about the sanctity of all life. That’s what kashrut is about – and we need to be talking about Reform ways to keep that kashrut.

And Food Inc. is one scary movie that I would see again; it’s that important.

What do you think? Ma khosh’vim?

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2 thoughts on “What Do You Think? Ma Khosh’vim?

  1. ruth livingston // Dec 21, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Wasn’t here for the film but am totally looking forward to the new programs at the temple in January, especially “Back to Basics” which will fill in a lot of blanks in my knowledge bank of Jewish “Whys”.

    Jonathan // Dec 22, 2010 at 10:04 am

    I think that the film is scary but there is hope.
    For those interested you can view the film free of charge via CBC.ca website. It was featured at the end of November.http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/Shows/The_Passionate_Eye

    Rene Weinstein // Dec 22, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    I do think it’s important to keep the principles of Kashrut in mind when shopping, and while one wants to be morally and ethically responsible there are budgetary restraints that come to mind as organic foods are definitely more expensive as are free roam meats.

    HM // Feb 20, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    I was unaware the Loblaws had kosher meat,
    thanks for the information.

    • Just to be clear: I do not know that Loblaws does have kosher meat; they have had beef bacon, in addition to pork bacon. Always read the ingredients!!

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