Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Rant #210: Rabbis Blox Bagels and Lox

I heard yesterday that some ultra-Orthodox Rabbinical Board decreed that bagels and lox were not kosher anymore, and thus, for those Jews that follow these laws, had become verboten.

I have to tell you right off the bat that I am the only Jew in the world who does not like lox. I have never liked them, don't know what the big deal is about them, and don't eat them.

But millions of Jews--and Gentiles--just love lox.

So you can say that since I don't like them, I am following what this Rabbinical Board said, because I am not eating them.

However, for those that love them, the problem is, according to the Rabbinical Board, that lox--and other fish--contain a certain parasite that now can't be classified. Since it can't be classified, it can't be kosher. Simple as that.

But it isn't simple as that.

The parasite, which is acknowledged to exist, dies out when the fish are refrigerated.

So when you eat the lox, the parasite does not exist anymore.

So other Rabbinical organizations say, go ahead, eat the lox, because it is, in fact, kosher.

Once again, you have groups of the same faith butting heads. One group says no, the other group says yes.

What is a poor Orthodox Jew to do?

Since I am not Orthodox, and since I don't eat lox anyway, it doesn't really matter to me. But it does matter to millions around the world.

It almost boils down to the old question, "What is a Jew?"

Is a Jew someone who keeps a kosher home, or can a Jew be someone who simply follows the Old Testament the way he or she wants to interpret it?

This question is one for the ages, and you can get good arguments going both ways.

I guess that personally, I am a Jew, but because I don't keep a kosher home, I am a heathen to some of my own faith. I don't follow all the holidays, and although my son was bar mitzvahed, as was I, some Jews don't consider me Jewish.

I will go even further. My wife's father is Jewish, but her deceased mother was not. She brought up the three children--my wife has two brothers--in the Jewish faith, but she never converted.

So I guess I am even a worse heathen, because to some, I did not marry a person who is Jewish by the laws that some say govern our religion.

Of course, we were married by an Orthodox rabbi, who found nothing inappropriate.

Ah, these types of arguments are what makes the world go around.

But don't pass me the lox. I don't like them.

And for that, some would consider me the worst heathen of all.

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