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Phyllis Glazer. Divine wisdom in nature Photo: Yaron Brener
Phyllis Glazer. Divine wisdom in nature Photo: Yaron Brener
 
Prof. Alice Shalvi. Healthy body, healthy soul Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Prof. Alice Shalvi. Healthy body, healthy soul Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
 
 

Organic is the true kosher

'After years of living in dark, cold cities of Europe, we lost contact with nature and its produce,' says Phyllis Glazer, guru of the organic kitchen, at Schechter Institute's study day 'Jewish Women Maintain a Healthy Soul.' Glazer calls to return to real kosher – no food coloring, preservatives, cruelty

Tzofia Hirschfeld
Published: 07.01.09, 07:47 / Israel Jewish Scene

The issue of Jewish nutrition takes up quite a bit of space in the volumes of Halacha. In actuality, we received a rigorous, thorough, and strict gastronomic guide at Mount Sinai describing in the finest detail what is permitted to eat, what we can eat it with, and in how much time. The Jewish diet has thus been preserved for thousands of years.

 

And, of course, the day has come when even this foundation is being kosherly slaughtered. The Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies held a study day for traditional women on the subject "Jewish Women Maintaining a Healthy Soul."

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During the conference, the spiritual mother of the organic kitchen, Phyllis Glazer, along with her sister, a traditional rabbi and professor of literature at Jewish University, Miriam Glazer, asserted that what we find today in the Jewish kitchen is a culinary deviation from the original source.

 

"The food we have today is a result of life in exile, a life of cold and suffering. But this is not true Judaism," clarifies Miriam in a conversation with Ynet. "After we lived for years in the dark, cold cities in Europe, we lost touch with nature and its produce.

 

"We must return to Judaism that celebrates nature. We must return to eating what we ate in the Garden of Eden. To eat every type of fruit and vegetable. Meat comes only after the flood. We today need to return to the Garden of Eden within and be vegetarians," she explained.

 

Two sides to a holiday: the natural and the spiritual

"Life in the ghettos of Europe brought us away from the source. The ultra-Orthodox as they are today is not true Judaism. They aren't even remotely part of this world. They forgot that all of our holidays celebrate the beauty found in nature. Even Shavuot is originally a harvest holiday. After the exile, rabbis turned it into a holiday of the giving of the Torah. This is fine, but the spiritual origin of the holidays is built on the physical phase of nature," Glazer continued.

 

"What is happening today is that kibbutzim celebrate only the holidays' nature aspect, and haredim celebrate only the holidays' spiritual aspect. I say that one side without the other lacks meaning," Glazer asserted.

 

"Nature is holy," added Miriam's sister, Phyllis. "As long as we distance ourselves from nature, we will suffer. We received the earth with a detailed menu. We have here a land blessed with seven species of fruit, each of which, it is known today, contribute something unique to bodily health. Inherent in nature's natural output is divine wisdom.

 

If it's cruel, it's not kosher

"When we try to play with this, we only hurt ourselves; we hurt God's intention. The original Judaism flew under the banner of organic living. What we have done, is we have created other things that aren't real food," Phyllis explained.

 

"Religious people eat kosher. But this kosher is sometimes full of food coloring and preservatives. This isn't kosher in my eyes," said Miriam. "True kashrut must be based on real things. It must take into account things like ethics and morals, under what conditions the animals were raised, in what conditions workers were employed. Because if the food came to us by way of exploitation and cruelty, this isn't kosher food. We must remember that God said about everything He created 'and it was good.'"

 

"In Judaism, there are many references to the issue of a health soul in a healthy body," said Prof. Alice Shalvi, a board member of the Schechter Institute. "The Rambam referred to this extensively, but, just as with any theory, just because you are aware of it, doesn't mean you act according to it. We wanted to show the connection between Jewish thought and bodily health."

 

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