Thoughts On Jewish Food

matzoh ball soup from Lox & Schmear

We want to share an essay with you today written by a local Jewish chef. Lev Levine is the owner of Lox & Schmear, one of our favourite bagel spots in the city. They recently posted their thoughts on Instagram on the topics of Jewish food, kosher food, and cultural appropriation. It was so well presented we asked their permission to share it with you here.

by Lev Levine

Let me first start off by stating that I am not an expert, I am always learning and I understand that there are different ways to be Jewish, do Jewish things and eat Jewish foods. I am a white, Ashkenazi Jew and only one voice commenting on this topic- numerous BIPOC folks are leading conversations about other culturally specific foods.

To all the businesses offering Jewish holiday menus- THANK YOU! Creating accessible Jewish food is awesome. I also know times are tough and bringing in business is important, but is it too much to ask that we all be respectful of the religion?



1. With the increasing trendiness of Jewish foods, I have seen many businesses (Jewish and non) offering Jewish holiday meals that do one of the biggest no nos- mix dairy and meat. In Judaism, there is a set of dietary laws dealing with foods that Jewish people are permitted to eat- this is called Kosher. I know folks follow these laws in different ways and that is okay (I myself am not Kosher!), but, I do think that if you are a business that is offering Jewish holiday meals, you should explain that this is “your take” on the food and that this is not a meal that follows traditional dietary law. I think this helps with misrepresentation and misleading information. Acknowledge that you know what you are doing.

2. For me, Judaism is so much about culture, and the food aspects are what I connect with the most. So, let me clarify again by saying that offering Jewish style meals to help folks celebrate is amazing! HOWEVER, if you are capitalizing and monetizing on this religion with little/ no connection to it, I highly suggest you try to do a little bit of learning. It’s really easy to research information about the meaning behind Jewish holidays and subsequently, the foods associated with it.

3. So? I am not saying that Jewish food should never be made in an unkosher manner or only by Jewish people. I am saying that a little mindfulness goes a long way, and it is really easy to write a disclaimer to clarify intentions and goals. Placing value on understanding where things come from should be of importance and I believe that businesses have a responsibility to be aware of these issues.

Go to @loxandschmear for the comments and for more beautiful bagel and matzo ball soup photography

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