Thursday, April 14, 2016

You Should See the Other Guy.....

Top of the afternoon to all...

My medium child received a warning from the police the other day due to a traffic violation.  He was riding his bicycle in the crosswalk.  It happened here:

His citation was a warning as he was riding his bicycle in the crosswalk.

When his school called me and told me what was going on, I knew exactly where it had happened.

And now for the rest of the story.  First of all, the lad is just fine.  He has some bumps and bruises.  His the absolute least needs two new wheels, new pedals, and a new front gear system.  When the light turned green, he pedalled out into the crosswalk, with the idea of riding parallel to the crosswalk.  The person taking the left from Wilmington onto Finch either did not see him or thought that he could turn in front of him.  It was the wrong set of decisions on the car driver's part.  He hit the kid, pretty hard.

I met up with everyone at Humber River Hospital.  We hung out there for a few hours while the nice folks there checked him over.  He is fine.

There is no long-term damage.

The car, from what I understand, requires a new windshield.  Good!  It serves the driver right.  He should know better than to zip out of an intersection like that, and crossing in front of anyone in the crosswalk is illegal.  At least he stayed.

I always knew that the medium child would be the one with a police record.

May the best of the day be yours.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Response to Reader on Most Recent Posting...

Top of the day to all...

One of my loyal readers replied to my previous post that she thought cleanliness had something to do with kashrut.  Alas, it is not true.

Strictly speaking, the word only has to do with whether or not food is ritually fit.  While kosher food producers should adhere to higher standards in areas outside of food preparation, honest books, and proper working conditions, just for example, violating any of those presents no ritual issue in and of itself.

I would like to point to an amusing article on kosher oysters.  The oysters are clean, even pure, but they are not kosher.

I agree with the reader though on the basic issue.  The quality of chickens has dropped precipitously since Chai Poultry closed.  I understand that there will be kosher chickens again in Ontario in the not-too-distant future, but we are not there yet.

In the meantime, we are stuck with what we are getting, which is clearly a fowl foul.

Have a good day everyone.


Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Responsible Administration of Kashrut...

Top of the evening all...

Once upon a time, food production was largely cottage industries.  The local dairyman brought milk to town.  The local farmer brought chickens.  The local gardener brought rutabagas.  It was thus very easy to keep a kosher home.  People knew the producers personally, and therefore knew the product.

As the techniques for mass production developed after the industrial age, kashrut had to take on new dimensions.  Thus developed the concept of the hekhsher, kosher supervision.  Rabbis would go out and put their seal on a product.  We now see these marks on all manner of food.  Some foods have a long history (comparatively).  For example, Maxwell House coffee has been certified kosher since the 1920's.  Coca Cola has been certified since the 1930's.  Other products are more recent, such as M&M's and Oreos.

When we get to the Pesach time of year, the issues of supervision become a little more complex.  We have to deal with the extra foods that are otherwise permitted, but forbidden during the holiday of Pesach.  Within those foods, there is a category called kitniyot, which Sephardim eat but Ashkenazim do not.

In theory, this should be simple.  It gets complicated though, because custom was never monolithic.  It was subject to much interpretation depending on location, rabbi, product availability, and a whole bunch of other factors.  It is thus impossible to say that Ashkenazim did 'X,' and Sephardim did 'Y.'

Now here is the issue.  Some of those other issues have started to appear in ways that demand a new look at how products are supervised.  For example, I cannot eat wheat or dairy.  Other people are vegetarians.  The list of quirks in people's diets is quite astounding.

Kashrut should be administered with those quirks in mind.  If kashrut organizations do not wish to put all of the relevant information on the package, or if companies do not want to put all of the relevant information on the package, that is understandable.  It gets crowded.  It can still be put on the  company websites.  Oreos are certified as dairy, even though there is not a drop of milk in them.  Okay, but for someone who has anaphylactic reactions to dairy, it is nice to know that they should be safe.  The certification as dairy alone is not helpful.

Kashrut supervision at present takes only the kosher diet into consideration.  It needs to expand its mindset beyond, so that those who keep kosher can do so while also tending to individual dietary needs.

May the best of the evening be yours.