Kosher birds include: capon, duck (domestic), goose (domestic), chicken, turkey, guinea fowl and many others. As a general principle, scavenging birds such as eagles and vultures are not considered kosher, and others (generally) are.
Leviticus outlines the non-kosher birds and the rest are all kosher. In practice, however, only the birds that Jews have a tradition of eating are actually eaten.
With three exceptions, all bugs and insects are forbidden as treif (un-kosher).
The exception is a type of locust from the Arabian peninsula; this type of locust encompasses four distinct species of locust. The tradition for identifying which species of locust were and were not kosher has been lost among all Jews except the Jews of Yemen. The Grasshopper and beetle are also kosher.
Cheese made from milk and non-animal enzymes is kosher. But much cheese is made from milk and rennet, and the kashrut of such cheeses is a matter of debate in the religious Jewish community.
Rennet is the enzyme used to turn milk into curds and whey; most forms of rennet derive from the lining of the stomach of an animal, and thus are classified by most religious Jews as meat products. A vegetable substitute for rennet can be used, in which case none of these restrictions apply. Other Jewish authorities maintain another long standing Jewish legal tradition: rennet is held to be a secretion of the stomach wall, and thus does not have the status of meat (by the same token, honey and eggs do not assume the status of the animal that produced them). Further, in its normal processing, rennet undergoes a chemical change and becomes inedible, thus halakhically losing its status of "food" and any pertaining kashrut restrictions. They are considered to have changed so much from their original state that they are a d'var chadash ("a new substance" with properties significantly different from those of their original form). All such substances are considered pareve (neutral and kosher).
Fish and Seafood
To be kosher, a fish must have both fins and scales. The lack of either characteristic renders that species of fish unclean. Examples of unkosher fish include shark, catfish and eels.
All shellfish, such as crabs, lobster, and shrimp are not kosher.
All sea mammals, such as dolphins, whales and seals are not kosher.
All other sea animals, such as octopus, squid and jellyfish are also not kosher.
Seaweed and other sea plant life are all kosher.
There are two fish that are controversial: Swordfish and sturgeon.
Both of these have scales as young fish, but lose them later in life.
Most Orthodox rabbis rule that these fish are not kosher; many Conservative rabbis rule that they are kosher.
A controversial topic is the status of gelatin. This substance comes from the processed bones of animals. If the source of gelatin is a kosher animal that was properly slaughtered according to Jewish law, then such gelatin is considered kosher by all Jews. All other gelatin is usually considered treif (non-kosher). However, a number of prominent rabbinic authorities have noted that gelatin undergoes such extensive processing and chemical changes that it no longer has the status of meat, and as such may be considered pareve and kosher. Most Conservative Jews, and a significant minority of Israeli Orthodox Jews, accept that all gelatin is kosher.
A related subject is the kashrut of wine. The Talmud mentions the law that wine handled by non-Jews (stam yayin) and by idolators (yayin nesech) is forbidden for consumption. The main reason for the former is to limit intermarriage by limiting social interaction with non-Jews. The latter is forbidden because any form of food possibly dedicated to an idol is forbidden for any form of benefit.
These laws refer only to wine and wine-derived products (e.g. cognac). Spirits and beer fall outside the scope of this prohibition.
Genesis 1:29 states "And God said: Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree that has seed-yielding fruit - to you it shall be for food." According to many classical Jewish Bible commentators, this means that God's original plan was for mankind to be vegetarian. According to many rabbis, God later gave permission for man to eat meat because of man's weak nature, but the ideal would be for man to be vegetarian. Some prominent rabbis were vegetarian, such as the first Chief Rabbi of pre-state Israel, Abraham Isaac Kook. However, others argue that people may eat animals because God gave Eve and Adam dominion over them.
In addition, some Jews follow a more or less vegetarian diet for pragmatic reasons, if kosher meat is expensive or hard to come by in their area.
Kashrut and animal welfare
The method of slaughtering used in strict adherence to Jewish law has been criticized as being cruel by many animal rights organizations, in particular because animals are killed without the use of anesthesia. This has resulted in several restrictions or even an outright ban on kosher meat in a number of countries, though other countries grant ritualistic slaughter such as kashrut special exemption from the relevant regulations. However, some bans were in place before animal rights had become a general public concern.
Animal rights groups claim it can still take several minutes for the anima
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