Dietary Rules and Regulations
9. Jews and Muslims both 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.