But sating his cravings isn’t as simple as waltzing into the restaurant to order a dish of chicken and beef teriyaki. A month and a half ago, it might have been that easy. But now, this UW sophomore is keeping a strictly kosher diet.
It’s no question that the UW has students of different faiths and religious backgrounds. But with this diverse melting pot of religions comes a smorgasbord of something else that’s just as multifaceted: students who keep religious diets.
Some students on campus choose to observe — or not observe — religious diets because of personal reasons, family influences or tradition. Whatever the story, religious diets are a way that students show their dedication to their faith.
“[Religious diets] function to make people aware of eating as an activity,” said Martin Jaffee, a professor of comparative religion and Jewish studies at the UW. “Certain things that you eat will defile you.”
The kosher diet
Rabbi Elie Estrin said that keeping kosher means that Schwartz can only eat food that has ingredients that are kosher and is prepared with kosher utensils.
“The general idea [of a kosher diet] is to not mix milk and meat and to try to ensure that anything that goes into the food — ingredients and even utensils used to prepare it — are all kosher products,” Estrin said. “This is a simple and basic explanation, and there are a lot more details to it.”
After spending a year in Israel before beginning his freshman year, Schwartz learned that if he had the food available to him, it wouldn’t be too difficult to make a big change in his daily life.
“[Keeping a kosher diet] is another way to show who I am and that my Judaism is really important to me,” Schwartz said.
Although Schwartz now keeps a stricter kosher diet than his family members, he says his family is very supportive of his choice and that his mom even helps him shop for kosher products and cook kosher meals.
Adhering to his kosher diet while on campus might be a little difficult because many of the prepared meals have meat that does not meet the kosher rules. But at the end of the day, Schwartz believes that his choice to stick to a strict kosher diet is worth the effort.
“Every time I eat a meal now, it makes me think about being Jewish,” Schwartz said.
Ethnomusicology – the Americanization of Niggunim