Sunday, March 18, 2001

Kosher kitchen feeds family's spiritual needs

By Richelle Thompson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Harry Schneider washes more dishes these days. But dishwater hands are a small sacrifice, he says.

[photo] Rabbi Yisroel Mangel tells Dianne Schneider and her daughters Rachel and Nina how to make the kitchen kosher.
(Michael E. Keating photos)
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        Last June, the Enquirer chronicled the Schneider family's transition to a kosher home. On a Sunday morning, Rabbi Yisroel Mangel of the Jewish education and outreach center Chabad, took a blowtorch to their pots and pans. He threw boiling water on counter tops and told them to throw away some dishes and utensils.

        The rabbi was helping the Amberley Village family “kosherize” their home. Harry and Dianne Schneider and their two daughters, Rachel and Nina, wanted to return to more traditional religious practice and follow Jewish dietary laws, which require that meat and dairy foods be kept separate.

        Nine months later, kosher is a part of their lives. “I no longer view it as a choice,” says Mr. Schneider, 46. “It is what we are.”

        Staying kosher requires more meal planning — and more dishes. The Schneiders' dishwasher is for meat dishes only, so all the plates, spoons, glasses and bowls used for dairy are washed by hand.

[photo] Harry Schneider and Rabbi Mangel examine a pot.
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        Every once in a while, somebody messes up and uses the meat knife for butter or grabs the wrong bowl for ice cream. The Schneiders set aside the dishes and treat them as Rabbi Mangel taught.

        Mr. Schneider spent hours kosherizing his beloved 17-year-old grill. He scraped out layers of soot, and burned fat and meat juices from the bottom until it was bright and shiny. He replaced every part that came into contact with food. He could have purchased a new grill and saved himself a lot of work, but Mr. Schneider knows how this grill cooks, how long to keep a chicken breast on and when hamburgers are ready.

        The first meal he cooked on his kosher grill tasted different. Physically, it was the same, Mr. Schneider says. But “psychologically, it tasted better.”

        Being kosher “makes our home more of what we always wanted it to be,” Mr. Schneider says. “I'm not saying it gives me a spiritual feeling every time I eat, but when I look at my home life, the type of life we're trying to establish for our children, this is what's right for us.”


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