KASHRUT: PAST AND PRESENT

Kosher observance practices date back to ancient times, when the Torah and other biblical books were written, and continue today, despite changing historical realities and new interpretations of these principles. For religious Jews, they are a way of fulfilling divine commandments, while for non-practicing Jews they often serve as a point of reference for tradition and a source of identity.
In the middle there is an illustration depicting the digestive system of the animal. On the left and right, the text.

Joseph Schlesinger, "Dinei Shechitot"

A card with the listed rules of shechitah. In all likelihood, it once hung on a slaughterhouse wall. Vienna, c. 1875.
Gross Family Collection, Tel Aviv
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Joseph Schlesinger, "Dinei Shechitot"
Joseph Schlesinger, "Dinei Shechitot"
Notification in two languages with the following content: Due to the fact that there are various rumors that I left Chełm, I notify the entire population of Chełm that I live on the street of the first May at number 13 where I slaughter poultry. Sincerely, W. Zylber.

Announcement of a kosher slaughterer

Chełm, Poland, 1919-1939.
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, New York
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Announcement of a kosher slaughterer
Announcement of a kosher slaughterer
A woman in a white costume, with thick curly dark hair. Next to her hundreds of black tiles, on which there is a plate with an inscription in the Hebrew alphabet.

Arne Cohn's kosher deli in Copenhagen

Fanny Cohn inside of the shop, 1958
Danish Jewish Museum, Copenhagen
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Arne Cohn's kosher deli in Copenhagen
Arne Cohn's kosher deli in Copenhagen
Black and white photography. A young man stands on the shore of a lake. In his hands he holds a large pot. In the background there is a forest.

The tavilat kelim ceremony (washing of pots).

This is how pots purchased from non-Jews are washed. Rabbi Yehoshua Ellis in the photo. The vicinity of Katowice, 2012, photo by Arkadiusz Ławrywianiec.
Private collection
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The tavilat kelim ceremony (washing of pots).
The tavilat kelim ceremony (washing of pots).
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Kosher certificates

Today, in the era of globalization and industrial food production, each product consumed by observant Jews must have a kosher certificate granted by an authorized rabbi. It confirms that the food has indeed been produced in line with all the rules of kashrut. In order to obtain such a certificate, the entire production process must be examined, and all the chemical ingredients used in this process must be analyzed.

The marks used on kosher-certified products

These marks can take different forms, depending on the country and organization that issued them. The most common international mark contains the superimposed letters O and U.
In the middle, the content of the cetificate and stamp. Above is a drawing of houses and trees. At the bottom below the text, a portrait photo of a large group of people.

Kosher certificate of mass-produced matzo

Jerusalem, 1928.
Gross Family Collection, Tel Aviv
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Kosher certificate of mass-produced matzo
Kosher certificate of mass-produced matzo

Products from various suppliers, USA, second half of the 20th c.

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, New York

In pursuit of change

Nowadays, kosher food producers offer innovative products, striving to keep up with changing dietary trends, such as vegetarianism, veganism, ecological concerns, interest in cuisines from all corners of the world. Sometimes, following technological novelties in the culinary field raises various issues, e.g.: should meat produced in a lab be treated as meat, or as neutral, i.e. parve? Products imitating forbidden foods, e.g. kosher prawns, also stir much controversy.
The front of the store. On a white sign above the door, the name of the store. On the walls and sites information and advertising slogans. Several cars are parked in front of the building.

Stroli’s – kosher store in Toronto

Canada,1980s.
ANU – Museum of the Jewish People, Tel Awiw
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Stroli’s – kosher store in Toronto
Two men are standing by the open trunk of a green car. The man on the left is dressed in black, has sunglasses, and holds a shopping cart in his hands. An older man on the right has a blue jacket. On the side of the car there is an inscription: Kosher meals on wheels, which means kosher food on wheels

Kosher Meals on Wheels – sale and home delivery of kosher meals in Cape Town

South Africa, 1982.
ANU – Museum of the Jewish People, Tel Awiw
The interior of a crowded hall. A crowd of people passes between different stalls.

Kosherfest

A large kosher-certified products trade show. New York, 2019.
Lubicom and Diversified Business Communications, New York
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Kosherfest
Kosherfest
Kosherfest
Kosherfest
Kosherfest
The front of the store, the gray walls of the glazed shop window and the entrance door. Above the door there is a sign with the Polish inscription Kosher Shop and text in the Hebrew alphabet.

Kosher store in Warsaw

It is located next to the Jewish community office and the Nożyk Synagogue in Warsaw, 2021
Photo: Patryk Grochowalski
POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews
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Kosher store in Warsaw
Kosher store in Warsaw

Boker Tov

Agata Rakowiecka, director of the Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Warsaw, Maryla Musidłowska and Jakub Chojecki, who run the kosher kitchen there, talk about the idea of Sunday “Boker Tov” breakfasts at the JCC.
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