"I've noticed that quite a lot of people who are prominent in the animal liberation movement are Jews. Maybe we are simply not prepared to see the powerful hurting the weak." --Peter Singer (Author, Animal Liberation)


Last Day at the Kosher Store

There's only one kosher restaurant/market in my area, and today was its last day in business. After growing up in New York and going to school in Pittsburgh (right near Squirrel Hill), not having any kosher places is somewhat of a foreign concept. There are other places to get kosher and Jewish-style food, but it's just not the same as walking into an eatery that's so overtly Jewish.

I went around lunchtime today but wound up not eating there, as they were all out of falafel and knishes. There were some terrific bargains in the market, so I took advantage of my last chance to buy farfel and some other goodies.

I have a conflicted view of the restaurant. On the one hand, it was essentially a deli. The abundance of meat at such places always reminds me of the challenges of promoting vegetarianism in the Jewish community. A Citysearch review of the place said that "the laws of kashrut demand that animals be raised on a restricted organic diet and slaughtered in the most humane manner possible," and this utter lie represents to me the uphill battle of educating people about the kosher meat industry. ... On the other hand, they had the best falafel in town. I catered a falafel platter from there for a "Vegetarianism in the Jewish Tradition" talk that I gave at a local shul in March, and it was a huge hit. One attendee came up to me after trying the falafel and said something like, "If that's what vegetarian food is like ... I could do that!" I couldn't ask for a better response.

I spoke to my grandma this morning. She started talking about how Grabsteins, a legendary kosher delicatessen in Brooklyn, went out of business. I couldn't help but make a comparison to the definitive Long Island bluegrass song, "Bergold's Farm." This beautiful song--performed by Buddy Merriam & Back Roads and written and sung by former member Ron Feinberg--laments the closing of the last farm in town: the end of an era. Give it a listen; I've had the song stuck in my head all day.


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