While many people think of kosher food—food prepared in accordance with traditional Jewish dietary rules—as being more “moral” or “clean” than non-kosher food, recent exposés have shown that this is not always the case: kosher certification does not always mean that food is humanely raised and slaughtered, obtained by just labor practices, or prepared in a hygienic environment. In fact, there are times when the mandate to keep kosher and the desire to be green may come into direct conflict. Seeking to address these problems, Jewish environmental organizations have increasingly linked Jewish dietary rules with other green and ethical practices, promoting vegetarianism, veganism, and new types of kosher certifications. Professor Samira Mehta, in conversation with Professor Elias Sacks, Director of the Program in Jewish Studies, will explore these emerging efforts to blend kosher practices, environmentalism, and ethics—often known as “eco-kashrut”—and consider ways in which many Jews are connecting not-necessarily-Jewish eating habits to their moral lives as Jews.
Events are free of charge and open to participants in all locations, within Colorado and beyond.
Samira Mehta is an Assistant Professor of Women and Gender Studies and of Jewish Studies. Her research and teaching focuses on the intersections between religion, culture, and gender, including the politics of family life and reproduction in the United States. Her first book, Beyond Chrismukkah: The Christian-Jewish Blended Family in America (University of North Carolina Press, 2018) was a National Jewish Book Award finalist. Mehta’s current project, God Bless the Pill? Sexuality, Contraception, and American Religion, examines the role of Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant voices in debates about contraception, population control, and eugenics from the mid-twentieth century to the present. She also holds leadership positions in organizations including the American Academy of Religion and Association for Jewish Studies.