MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Faith Time is our weekly conversation on matters of Faith, joining us this morning is Rabbi Steven Silberman with Ahavas Chesed Synagogue. Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown and we wanted to talk about Jewish traditions, particularly, what does it mean to keep kosher?

Guest: Kosher is a Hebrew word, which means fit for use. So for example, if people were to be wearing a prayer shawl during worship the strings that are on the fringes have to be tied in a very specific way. The Rams horn is blown on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year must be free from serious and deep cracks, otherwise, it is not kosher for the chanter to blow during the service for us to hear it. The Torah scroll scripture has to be written in a certain way, otherwise, it’s not kosher for the chanter of the leader of the service to read from it during services.

Kosher means fit for use. So when we think about that and we talk about kosher food, we realized how profound it is that food has to be. Prepared in a certain way in order for it to be fit for Jewish people to consume. That’s a significant idea.

Anchor: And why is this dietary practice important?

Guest: It maintains our identity. First and foremost. It goes back to the ancient days, the days of the Torah 3000 years ago.

And there are a number of elements. There are two or three elements that have developed over 3000 years. The first element is that only specific animals are kosher fit for Jewish people to consume.

The second is that because we have high regard for all life, human life, and animal life, we refrain from consuming blood, which is the life force.

So once a specific animal is kosher is allowable for us to be consuming it, it has to be slaughtered in a certain way, and the blood has to be removed. Those are the two main elements. The third man element develops much later, only about 2000 years ago, and that goes as follows, separating meat and dairy items during food preparation and during serving.

Anchor: What do you like about this practice?

Guest: It’s very mindful every time I put a fork into a bite of food on my plate and I put it in my mouth. I’m conscious of what it means to be not only respect animal life through the lens of my tradition but also that I’m identified with my ancestors from 3000 plus years ago. It is holy. It’s holy unto God.