Monday, March 30, 2009

Thanks To Islam, We're Going (Sort Of) Kosher

Is Halal a step in the direction of Kosher?

Seems they've banned pork at the G20 Banquet.

Jamie Oliver...The chef, whose recent TV series Jamie Saves Our Bacon saw him champion pig welfare, has removed pork from the menu of his six-course meal because it could offend Muslim guests.

Here's the experience of a Jay Lefkowitz:

While Shabbat was never an issue at the White House, the early winter schedule did prove a challenge. However, everyone, including the President, was respectful, even allowing Jay to reschedule meetings away from Saturdays. Likewise, when Lefkowitz visited the ranch in Crawford and the Bushes were having Mexican food for dinner, Mrs. Bush went out of her way to make sure that Jay's kosher diet was accommodated.

On another occasion, the U.S. Holocaust Museum was having a special Anne Frank exhibit and Mrs. Bush wanted to host a formal state dinner in the White House for board members of the museum. The guest list also included friends in the Jewish community and Jewish members of the staff. Lefkowitz describes:

"A few weeks before the dinner, the First Lady's Chief of Staff called me over to consult on the menu and specific dietary needs of the invitees. Of the 130 potential guests, there were between 10 and 20 who kept kosher and would need special meals. Mrs. Bush was adamant that no one would have to eat differently and be forced to open plastic wrap. So she asked for some recommendations of kosher caterers, had some tastings, and then hired a reliable kosher caterer for the event."

"As the event neared -- perhaps it was even the morning of -- I got a call from one of the White House Ushers: 'What about the State china? We always use it for dinners in the State Dining Room?" I explained that unfortunately that would invalidate all their efforts. So Mrs. Bush decided that the White House would use brand new china for the dinner. This was the first and only time in history that a formal dinner was held in the State Dining Room without using the White House china. And this month, President and Mrs. Bush are hosting their 8th annual kosher Chanukah party in the White house. Jay's daughter Talia was the first person to ever light the Chanukah candles there.

"I tried never to push my religious values, and I certainly never imposed them on anyone. I was playing a secular role, after all. But I am always conscious of the need to behave ethically and responsibly, and certainly all of my thoughts and actions are filtered through the lens of Torah and Jewish law."

(Kippah tip: Islam in Action)

No comments: