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Keeping kosher style is a good thing


This picture was taken in the kitchen of Shar Zahav, the LGBTQ (gay) reform shul in San Francisco. Now before you start having a heart attack over this, think for a second as to how frum the Reform community has gotten. Reform was basically founded as Christian Judaism, originally shabbos was changed to Sunday, the organ and choir were instituted and to talk of kosher was blasphemy.

I am sure there are some people reading this who grew up in Reform Communities that would have thought this to be too frum, yet here in San Francisco it seems that the Reform Jews are at least observing some level of kasharus. In my mind it’s a very good thing, despite the fact that it’s not kosher – but regardless – kosher style may lead to kosher one day.

For more kosher style things check out 4torah.com

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • A November 23, 2011, 3:49 PM

    Forget about kashrut for a moment – they need to rethink their font policy.

  • Andy November 23, 2011, 4:10 PM

    Heshy, that’s frummer than most Reform shuls, and there is a reason. Since Shaar HaZahav was the LGBTQ shul, it attracted folks with a wide range of Jewish backgrounds. It made sense for the synagogue to be affiliated with the Reform Movement, because of its openness to the LGBTQ community as compared with the Conservative Movement or Orthodoxy. But many members would not identify as Reform Jews. The Mission Minyan has complicated matters, as a number of the more traditional members of Sha’ar HaZahav prefer the MM’s more traditional davening and mitzvah observance. These folks may even be on the board/machers group of both communities. The Reform Movement HAS taken a traditional turn, that is true, but SH is still a special case.

    • Heshy Fried November 23, 2011, 7:23 PM

      I didn’t think of that, but it makes sense and thanks for the info. One of these day’s I’ll actually make it to shul there.

    • billy bob bobo November 24, 2011, 10:28 PM

      andy you hit it on the hit. good reason

  • Yochanan November 23, 2011, 7:19 PM

    The thing I don’t get about the LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer) acronym is that if the first 4 didn’t fit the definition of “queer”, then what does?

    • Sara November 27, 2011, 9:13 PM

      Because the “Q” stands for “questioning,” not “queer.”

  • ahron November 23, 2011, 7:49 PM

    Not the same rules as an uppper west side Meat Market shul’s fridge

  • adam zur November 24, 2011, 1:11 AM

    i agree with the sign. The most serious aspect of kashrut is shechita of a animal or bird. This there is no permession to be lenient about. However because of the fact that 1/60 is derabanan for everything except for meat and milk according to the rambam and rashi (and even to all other rishonim 1/60 is from the Torah only for wet substances–not like chocolate bars etc ) the end result is tat the whole need for a stamp of kashrut is based on a kind of fraud. The reason is that for deranana does not ask the question maybe there is something not kosher there. . that means according to the strict din one does not even have to check the ingredient. If one does he is already being extra careful. a stamp of kashrut is essentially because rabbis needs money

    • Lex Luthor November 24, 2011, 6:36 PM

      According to the Shul?an Arukh and the Rema the halakha does not accord with Rashi and company.

      The rule of 60:1 is not only by “wet substances” as you say. It is by anything which can absorb taste, i.e anything cooked/fried/baked/roasted together; salted together; pickled together; or even that just sat together in a vat of cold liquid for over 24 hours. You are probably thinking of the distinction between ta’aruvot of la? and ta’aruvot of yavesh, but in fact all the things I mentioned (which includes chocolate bars – though btw I cannot imagine why any chocolate bar wouldn’t be kosher) are considered ta’aruvot of la?. Ta’aruvot of yavesh are when you have – for example – a few pieces of meat, and you aren’t sure which is kosher and which is not. In that case the halakha is determined based on the simple majority, though if they are different “types” it needs to be 60:1 mid’rabbanan. All this can be found in Yoreh Deah Siman 98, 105, and 109.

      • Lex Luthor November 24, 2011, 6:40 PM

        Sorry the ? were supposed to be h’s with dots under them but they didn’t come out.

      • Dan November 24, 2011, 9:31 PM

        Thanks yit. I always like to find the am haaratzim here with their groise gaonus, and do what you just did.

  • danielGA November 24, 2011, 1:20 AM

    i don’t see what’s “unkosher” about this sign. maybe “un-frum” but by halakahic standards it isn’t “unkosher”. remember, separation of fowl and dairy started out as a chumra of sorts.

  • Anonymous November 24, 2011, 9:07 AM
  • Mendy November 24, 2011, 2:58 PM

    I wouldn’t hold by their kashrus – then again I wouldn’t go there to pick up a chick either 🙂

  • anon November 24, 2011, 5:21 PM

    Lgbt and kosher is a paradox

    • ipitythefoo November 26, 2011, 7:02 PM


  • Superman November 25, 2011, 12:18 AM

    Thank you Lex Luther for the important details. You are right of course that wet is referring to being cooked or the other variation as you mentioned. And though you are also right about the Rema and the Shulchan Aruch, I general only look at Rishonim for Halacha. Often the people inside the Shulchan Aruch have some important ideas about how to interpret the Rishonim but in general I don’t consider them to be any rigorous statement of halacha.
    The Shulchan Aruch itself was not written to be a rigorous halacha book. It was written because some communities shad come from areas in Spain that went by the Rambam and other communities were from areas which went by the Rosh and both of these got mixed up in North African communities. So the Shulch Aruch tried to make something that would be acceptable to everyone –not something that was rigorous true in terms of Halacah. You can see this in the introduction of R. Joseph Karo.
    And the people after the Shulchan Aruch are often not logically rigorous.

    • Lex Luthor November 28, 2011, 12:31 PM

      Whatever floats your boat. Regardless of whether or not you accept the Shulhan Arukh and its glosses as binding, you must admit that the Tur and Beit Yosef present a comprehensive and often exhaustive analysis of the Halakha, and to ignore their outcome without demonstrating that you realize something they didn’t would be foolish and not intellectually honest.

      As it relates to our discussion, the opinion of Rashi is rejected by the Tur and Beit Yosef as per the position of most rishonim that Rashi’s opinion is not viable; included but not limited to Ra’avad, R. Tam, Ri, R. Hayyim (of the Ba’alei Tosafot), Rashba, and Rosh.

  • Friar Yid November 27, 2011, 3:04 PM

    One of the things that is so interesting about the Reform movement is that since its founding in the early 19th century, it has continually tilted back towards traditional Judaism, rather than farther from it. People act like Reform discovering tradition is a new thing, but they forget that this was happening as far back as the late 30s– for instance, the 1940 revised Reform prayerbook inserted a ton of traditional prayers back into Reform liturgy that had been taken out decades previously. Before then the gaps between Reform and the other movements were far wider, whereas these days once you’re beyond Orthodoxy, it’s basically an issue of style.

    My sense (being a liberal, though not specifically Reform-affiliated Jew) is that part of why this works for the Reform movement is that, having made a decisive break with the status quo of their day at the beginning of its history, their leaders were then free to boil Reform Judaism down to its most basic elements and principles. This lay the groundwork for them to then build it back up and borrow and incorporate from the tradition, but on their terms. For a lot of Jews who don’t buy into halacha or come at Judaism from an agnostic/post-modern POV, I think the Reform approach makes a lot of sense.

    And yes, Temple GLBT is a fun place (though sometimes a little too touchy-feely for my tastes).

  • Avrumy November 28, 2011, 8:37 AM

    Since many LGBT feel disenfranchised from their Judaism, its great that this shul and the gay shul in NY (CBST) do have kashrut policies for their kitchens.
    I hope Heshy does daven in CSZ, or CBST sometime soon and lets us know how he likes it. As an orthogay, I really dont feel very comfortable in CBST and I stick to my ortho neighborhood shul. FYI, CBST does have an all-Hebrew egalitarian minyan once a month which gets a frummer crowd.

  • BenAvigdor November 29, 2011, 3:31 PM

    FYI, having a choir, or even an organ had/has absolutely nothing to do with Reform Judaism. In the days before anyone knew what “Orthodox” was, there were traditional synagogues with organs in Europe. To this day, Orthodox synagogues in the UK will almost always have an organ (though they are used during the week for weddings, and not on Shabbat). And contrary to post 1940’s neo-Othodox revisionism, MOST European traditional synagogues had a choir of one type or another for Shabbat and High Holidays. The tradition of a choir goes back to Biblical times, long before anyone had ever heard of Reform or any other “movement.”

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