Observe religiously mandated dietary rules and regulations
Most people who know anything at all about Judaism have at least heard about the fact that observant Jews “keep kosher,” mainly meaning that they eat only “kosher foods.” Pork, for example, is avoided, because pork is “not kosher.” In a similar manner, Muslims are also required to eat only certain kinds of food (known as “halal” foods), and to avoid certain other kinds of food (“haram” foods). In the U.S., when passing through neighborhoods with a significant Jewish or Muslim population, one may often see signs in shop windows advertising themselves as “kosher butchers” or “halal grocers,” for instance. The term kosher means “ritually correct.” Jewish religious laws, derived from the Torah (the first section of the Hebrew Bible), mandate that both food selection and food preparation be “ritually correct.” In practice, this can get quite complicated, but observant Jews are religiously obligated to abide by all of the specific food laws –which are collectively known as the laws of kashrut (“correct,” “proper”) — that are enumerated in the Torah. Certain kinds of food are forbidden altogether, such as pork and shellfish, because they are “ritually impure.” Other kinds of food must be prepared in certain ways that are deemed “ritually correct”; for example, all blood must be drained from meat before it is cooked or eaten (kosher butchers can help with this), and meat and dairy products must not be intermixed or eaten together (so a hamburger is okay, but a cheeseburger is not kosher). Many Jewish households keep entire separate sets of pots, pans, utensils, sometimes even sinks and refrigerators, with one such set used exclusively for meat and the other for dairy, just to ensure no intermixing of the two occurs. Of course, not all Jews strictly follow all of these dietary laws; most Orthodox Jews do keep kosher, whereas many Reform Jews may be more lenient in the degree to which they adhere to the rules.
In Islam, there are also a number of religiously mandated dietary restrictions. The Quran expressly forbids both eating pork and drinking wine (a prohibition which Muslims understand extends to drinking any sort of alcoholic beverage). Islamic religious law has sifted further through the Quran and extracted additional guidelines, working out a basic division between types of foods which are classified as either halal (“permitted”) or haram (“forbidden”). Alcohol, pork, blood, improperly slaughtered animals, and a number of other types of food are classed as haram or impermissible. There are both similarities and differences between kosher and halal lists of foods. For example, both Jews and Muslims are forbidden to eat pork. On the other hand, Jews cannot eat shellfish, but most Muslims can (depending upon the specific sect); by contrast, Muslims cannot drink alcohol, but Jews can (so long as the beverage is kosher; some drinks may contain non-kosher ingredients).
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