What is kosher?
~ Milk Related FoodsThis includes all dairy products and foods made with milk. The milk must come from a kosher animal. Foods made with milk are not allowed to contain any non-kosher ingredients or animal fats whatsoever.
~ Neutral Foods (parve)All foodstuffs which do not belong either to dairy-based or meat-based foods are parve, such as fish with gills, fins, and scales, as well as eggs, fruit, vegetables, cereals, and pulses. With eggs one must always make sure that they have not been fertilised, which would mean that they are not allowed to be eaten. Fruit and vegetables must be thoroughly washed and cleaned, and must not contain any maggots. This also applies to flour, sugar, and spices.
~ EggplantEggplant is the most versatile vegetable in Israeli cuisine. Eggplant can be fried, baked, boiled or roasted. You can make very tasty hot and cold dishes with eggplant.
~ HumusThis is one of the most popular foods in Israel. Humus is made from cooked chickpeas (which are first soaked). Humus is not eaten with a fork, but spooned from the plate with a piece of pita bread.
~ FalafelFalafel is the most popular snack in Israel. It consists of a pita bread, which is filled with small dumplings which have been fried in oil. The dumplings are spicy and made from chickpeas. The pita is also filled with various salads and drizzled with tahina to top it off.
~ TahinaTahina is an all-purpose sauce made from sesame seeds. It looks like mayonnaise and is served as a salad dressing, a dip, or as a starter.
~ Red Fruit JellyIs always made from fresh fruits and thickened with sugar and lemon juice. It is a favourite dessert.
~ TscholentThis is a typical Shabbat food in our congregation. It is made from beans, potatoes and vegetables. Seeing as one does not work on the Shabbat from dusk on Friday until dusk on Saturday, this meal is prepared in a big, heavy pot on Friday and is slowly cooked on a low temperature overnight. Tscholent can be either vegetarian or prepared with meat.
~ Oriental CoffeeThis is usually prepared in a so-called finjan. This pot has an open top and a long handle. It sits on a small oven. As well as coffee and sugar, a bit of green cardamom is added.
~ CardomomCardomom is one of the oldest spices in the world. It originated in India and is a spice that is often used by Beth Café.
~ Bulgur WheatOne of the main ingredients in our taboule is a coarsely ground semolina. Bulgur wheat finds many uses in oriental cuisine.
~ MintIs finely chopped and used in taboule and to flavour fruit salads. We serve nana tea, which means tea with fresh mint and sesame.
~ PitaPita is the flat-bread of the Middle East, which is eaten with great relish in Israel. It tastes best when it is still fresh and warm, and is especially good when eaten together with delicacies such as tahina, humus, and falafel. Pita is round, flat, and has a pocket, which can be filled with various things. Pita is also very easy to make at home (1 tablespoon of yeast, 1 teaspoon of honey, 1kg of flour and 1 tablespoon of salt). The oven must be preheated well (230°C), because only then will the pitas swell up and form pockets when you put them in the oven (baking time approximately 8-10 minutes).
~ LokschenkiegelIs a sweet soufflé with egg, flavoured with brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. Also commonly added is a sweet syrup, fruit compote or cream.
~ ChallaThis is also called »Barches« in German and is a plaited white yeast bread containing egg. The challa for Rosch Haschana is always round. No Shabbat or Jewish holiday (excluding Pessach) begins without two loaves of this bread lying on the neatly set table. The blessing of the wine before eating is one of the rituals. The Hebrew word for »blessing« is »bracha«, from which the word »Barches« (used above) is derived.
~ Filled FishThis is naturally home-made at Beth Café using a traditional recipe. The preparation of this dish of carp, whitefish, onion, eggs, oil, salt, pepper, sugar, matzoh flour, and water is complicated and time-consuming, but the taste is worth it. Filled fish is eaten cold. At Beth Café it is sweet and zesty and served with kren.
~ KrenFreshly-ground horseradish, prepared with beetroot, salt, sugar and lemon, is often so sharp that it brings tears to the eyes (from the joy of the good taste on one's tongue).
~ KrupnikA mushroom soup with groats and braised onion. Often eaten with sour cream.
~ Matzoh DumplingsAlways eaten at Pessach, because the matzoh dough does not contain any yeast. In Beth Café they are available all year long, except for during the time between Purim and Pessach. Matzoh dumplings should always be cooked separately and then added to the soup, because this makes them rise and soak up moisture.
~ LekachThis is a honey cake which is often eaten at Rosch Haschana. It is also eaten on all of the important Jewish holidays. As a sweet food it is also a symbol of hope - lekach is supposed to bring a sweet new year.
~ What is Kosher wine?»Kosher« is used as a synonym for »pure«. It literally means »suitable«, and is deeply rooted in the Jewish food laws. These laws follow the instructions of the Torah exactly. The application of the laws is especially stringent in the production of wine. For instance, in the vineyards, other fruit or vegetables are not allowed to grow between the grapevines. The grapes of a new vine are not used for wine production before the fourth year after its planting. In addition there is the law called »Schmitta«, according to which the fields and vineyards must go untilled every seventh year. Agricultural products and wines produced in this so-called »Shabbat year« cannot be designated as kosher. After the grape harvest, an inspection takes place by recognised rabbis, who check the adherence of the wine maker to the following regulations:
- Only Jewish men who observe the Shabbat are allowed to work in the production of wine.
- The production facilities must be thoroughly cleaned and sterilised.
- The materials used to clarify and filter the wine must be »kosher« and cannot consist of animal products.
- The wine is »mevuschal«, in order to make sure that it will remain »kosher« when served by a Jew who does not observe the Shabbat. The term »mevuschal« means »cooked«. A »blitz«-pasturisation method has been developed which is approved by religious Jews as »mevuschal«, which does not however affect the quality of the wine.
- The »maaser« ceremony must be held. This means that one percent of the total amount produced is destroyed, as a symbol of the giving of the tithe to the Kohanim Gedolim (High Priests) during the first and second temples in Jerusalem.