Do Jewish people eat pork?

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “do Jewish people eat pork?”. We will also talk about what types of meat Jewish people can eat and what religions forbid eating pork. We will further discuss if Jewish people can drink alcohol and what foods they can’t eat.

Do Jewish people eat pork?

No, Jewish people do not eat pork since they are prohibited by their religion. This is a very old law from Judaism. In fact, since 1962 the rearing and slaughtering of pigs has been forbidden in Israel.

This traditional culture derives from a bible passage, in Deuteronomy, that classifies pigs as unclean animals and, therefore, cannot be eaten. 

Jews call ‘kosher’ all that is fit to eat. In their culture, for an animal to be kosher they must chew their cud and have split hooves, and pigs don’t fit both criteria. Regarding water animals, they can only eat fishes that have fins and scales such as cod, haddock and bream.

The restriction is valid for food derivatives too. They also cannot eat crab, shellfish or insects in general.

What types of meat Jewish people don’t eat?

Jewish people don’t eat meat from rabbits, horses, squirrels, camels and kangaroos, according to kosher tradition. Beside those, there are other types of meat that are also forbidden, such as:

  • Predator and scavenger birds (like eagles, owls and hawks);
  • Cuts of meat that are not from the forequarters of a kosher ruminant animal (like shank, flank or round).

What religions forbids eating pork?

Judaism, Islam and the Adventist Church are religions that also forbid the consumption of pork. Those are Abrahamic religions just like Christianity, but unlike the other parts, Christians in general do not follow this restriction (except for Adventists).

There is no ‘specific’ explanation for the pork restriction, as the bible does not go into this. It can have multiple meanings, but the most accepted theory is that it just creates a very strong sense of identity. 

A ritual is also necessary before eating any meat (all the traces of blood must be removed), that’s why Jewish people generally buy certified kosher products. This is also applied for water animals.

Can Jewish people drink alcohol?

Yes, Jewish people can drink alcohol. In fact, many rituals and celebrations are made with alcoholic beverages like wine.

Actually, wine is widely used in Judaism and is considered to be the ‘king of beverages’, which is supported by bible passages. For Jewish people, wine can be holy and has great powers, thus it needs to be consumed with respect and moderation.

Drunkenness is not well seen by Jews. They are forbidden to pray while drunk, and priests are not allowed to bless their congregations after having one glass of wine.

What foods Jewish people cannot eat?

Along with pork, crabs, predator birds and other animals already cited in this article, Jewish people can’t eat foods that have ingredients which are not kosher (fit for eating according to Jewish laws). This includes:

  • Casein;
  • Gelatin;
  • Glycerine;
  • Lard (in breads);
  • Diacetin;
  • Wine vinegar;
  • Edible fats and oils;

For Jews, the way the food is prepared and served is also important. For example, meat and milk cannot be taken together. Furthermore, they will only buy food approved by a rabbi or Kosher agency.

The only occasion a Jew should eat non-kosher foods is in life-threatening situations. If an ill person needs a certain type of non-kosher food for their survival, they are allowed to eat it – although they may always seek kosher options first.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we addressed the query, “do Jewish people eat pork?”. We also talked about what types of meat Jewish people can eat and what religions forbid eating pork. We then discussed if Jewish people can drink alcohol and what foods they can’t eat.

Furthermore, we hope this guide was useful to you! If you have any doubts, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Citations

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21542211/

https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1452611/jewish/Why-Do-Jews-Not-Eat-Pork-or-Crab.htm

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-kosher#definition

https://global.oup.com/obso/focus/focus_on_why_does_the_bible_prohibit_eating_pork/

https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/581082/jewish/What-is-Judaisms-take-on-alcohol-consumption.htm

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