Why Do Jews Like Chinese Food?

Why Do Jews Like Chinese Food
The incorporation of non-kosher foods into Jewish diets was made possible by the consumption of Chinese food, which enabled Jews to migrate away from a rigorous adherence to kosher rules. While the majority of first-generation Jews living in America strictly observed kashrut at all times, many second-generation Jews living in America remained strict in their home observance but became more flexible in the foods they ate outside the home.

Chinese cuisine is “unusually well suited to Jewish tastes because, unlike virtually any other cuisine available in America, traditional Chinese cooking rarely uses milk products.” The nature of Chinese food made it possible for them to rationalize this decision because it is “disguised through a process of cutting, chopping, and mincing.

Pork, shrimp, lobster, and other so-called dietary abominations are no longer viewed in their more natural states.” This process of cutting, chopping, and mincing, which was referred to as ko p’eng (to cut and cook) in ancient Chinese texts, rendered the ingredients invisible and therefore safe tre For example, pig was concealed and wrapped in wontons that resembled Jewish kreplach but were actually filled with pork (dumplings).

In the end, this led to many Jews born in the United States abandoning kashrut entirely on the grounds that it was “impractical and antiquated.” The younger generation was able to demonstrate their independence and further build a “cosmopolitan spirit” by disobeying the norms of kashrut by consuming Chinese food.

It is possible to find Orthodox Jewish communities in the United States that have Chinese restaurants that strictly adhere to kashrut standards and are overseen by rabbis. These establishments serve only kosher food.

Do Jews eat Chinese on Christmas Eve or day?

On Christmas Day, many Jewish families in Canada and the United States will gather with their friends and family to enjoy traditional Chinese restaurant dishes like spring rolls, hot and sour soup, fried rice, and ginger chicken. These are just some of the dishes that can be found at Chinese restaurants.

  • On the 25th of December, Jewish families in the United States and Canada are expected to observe a long-standing custom of going out to eat Chinese food.
  • At the very least, the practice has been documented as far back as 1935, when an article published in the New York Times described an owner of a Chinese restaurant delivering chow mein to a Jewish children’s home in New Jersey on Christmas Day.

The practice is so commonplace at this point that it has been researched, lampooned, and even mentioned by the United States government at one point. During her nomination hearing in 2010, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan was in attendance. The origins of the tradition are examined in further detail in the following paragraphs.

Because it was inconvenient for them to do so, Jewish and Chinese immigrants who first arrived in Canada and the United States did not recognize December 25 as a holiday at the time of their arrival. According to Lara Rabinovitch, a historian and culinary writer, this meant that Jewish families were often free on the holiday of Christmas Day, and this also meant that Chinese eateries were open.

“It’s not a new trend, of Jewish immigrants and later their children, and then their children’s children eating at Chinese restaurants on Christmas Day,” Rabinovitch told CTVNews.ca in a FaceTime interview from Toronto. “It’s not a new trend, of Jewish immigrants and later their children, and then their children’s children eating at Chinese restaurants on Christmas Day.” Rose Reisman, a famous Canadian chef and author of several cookbooks, recalls that her parents would take her to dine in Toronto’s Chinatown on Sundays and on significant Christian festivals while she was growing up.

“When these Christian holidays arrived, stores weren’t open, and (my parents) didn’t want to cook at home,” she explained, “so Chinese food restaurants were the only ones open at this time.” As a result, “Chinese food restaurants became the norm.” According to Rabinovitch, the parallel migratory patterns that existed between the Chinese and Jewish populations in North America certainly played a role in the development of this ritual.

During the late 19th century and the early 20th century, massive waves of Jewish and Chinese immigrants began arriving in both Canada and the United States. Many of these immigrants settled in major urban centers, such as New York City and Toronto. According to Rabinovitch, because they were newcomers to these burgeoning cities, they frequently found themselves living in close proximity to one another.

  • When Reisman’s parents first moved to Canada from Eastern Europe, she remembers them telling her about the hostility and discrimination they encountered upon their arrival.
  • A lot of it was physical.
  • According to what Reisman said, “When they got to this nation, they were strangers.
  • There was a Christian ideology and culture in this country, and they did not feel like they fit in.” Rabinovitch believes that the proximity of these two immigrant groups is what ultimately led to interaction between the two groups.

(Map: Public Domain, Jesse Tahirali) (Map: Public Domain, Jesse Tahirali) Rabinovitch believes that this physical closeness ultimately led to interaction between these two immigrant groups. “Where Chinese restaurants flourished and prospered, Jewish communities likewise developed and thrived,” she added.

“Where Chinese restaurants developed and thrived, so did Jewish communities.” According to Rabinovitch, eating at a Chinese restaurant may have been one of the first ways that Chinese and Jewish immigrants came into intimate touch with one another. “There was thus an almost natural fusion, you might say, of the two groups in a social type of sense.” “These immigrant groups were really living and breathing on top of each other in locations like downtown Toronto,” she added, referring to the location of modern-day Spadina Avenue and Kensington Market.

“These immigrant groups were really living and breathing on top of each other.” In New York City in the early 20th century, Jewish and Chinese immigrants also lived in neighboring communities, primarily inhabiting Manhattan’s Lower East Side and Chinatown.

  • These were also neighborhoods where some of the earliest Chinese restaurants were, and where early factories where Jewish workers worked as well.
  • So this is maybe where the tradition was born.” Chinatown in New York City, around the year 1930.
  • Getty Images) The Anshei Minsk Synagogue, which can be found in the Kensington Market area of Toronto, just a few steps from from Chinatown.

(Marlene Leung / CTVNews.ca) Comparable but distinct Rabinovitch argues that not everyone agrees with that approach. She stated, “There’s an opposing end to this notion, that maybe it’s that opposites attract,” which is an alternative interpretation of the theory.

So maybe it’s not so much the commonalities that bring Chinese and Jews together, but maybe it’s the contrasts.” Rabinovitch says that the respective cuisines are likewise characterized by a conflict between the “familiar” and the “strange.” Garlic and onions are frequently used as seasonings in both Ashkenazi Jewish and Chinese cuisine, which is one illustration of the similarities between the two cuisines’ culinary traditions.

In addition, most Chinese cuisine does not contain dairy, and according to Rabinovitch, Jews who follow kosher are required to keep the meat and dairy items separate. There are additional meals that are just superficially similar to one another, such as dumplings (wontons and kreplach) and root pancakes (turnip and latkes).

  1. However, the cuisines are very diverse from one another.
  2. To provide just one example, traditional Chinese cuisine typically contains a significant amount of pork and shrimp, both of which are forbidden for Jews who follow kosher.
  3. Anthony Rose, a chef and restaurateur based in Toronto, notes that for many Jewish-Canadians, a Chinese restaurant was one of the few locations where dietary requirements could be eased.

He remembers that his family had a kosher home, but that “once you were at a Chinese restaurant, that all simply went straight out the window.” “All of a sudden you are eating BBQ pork slices, pork fried rice it was like there were no rules all of a sudden,” Reisman said.

She believes that her parents may have overlooked the restrictions in these instances because pork and shellfish are frequently disguised in Chinese cooking; for example, they may have been chopped up in a sauce or hidden inside a dumpling. “As long as it was hidden away in rice, you could pretend it was chicken or beef, and that was OK,” she added.

“As long as it was buried away in rice.” As he was growing up, Reisman remembers being awestruck by the robust flavors that can be found in Chinese cuisine. “I mean, the only thing you couldn’t do at a Chinese-food restaurant was have the (roast) pig served with the apple in its mouth,” he says.

“The sweet and sour, the spices,” says Rose, “my mother would not approve of me saying this, but I have always found it to be way more exciting than Jewish food.” “A party” This culinary custom has become so common that it wasn’t unusual to run into other Jewish families you knew at your favorite Chinese restaurant, says Rose.

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When you walked in, it was like a bar mitzvah or a Jewish wedding, he recalls of the now-defunct Lichee Garden in Toronto. “You would come in there, and it was like a Jewish wedding.” It wasn’t just friends and relatives that were there; there were a ton of people around, and you knew every single one of them.

Why do people eat Chinese food on New Years Eve?

During the Chinese New Year, there are certain meals that are eaten because of the symbolism behind them. During the 16-day festival season, lucky food is provided, particularly during the Chinese New Year supper on New Year’s Eve. This is because it is thought that eating such cuisine will bring the diner good fortune in the year to come.

  1. The traditional Chinese New Year dishes all have fortunate meanings that are derived from either their pronunciations or their appearances.
  2. Not only are the foods themselves important, but also the preparation, as well as the methods in which they are served and eaten, are very significant.
  3. Dumplings, seafood, spring rolls, and niangao are among the most typical dishes served during the Chinese New Year holiday.

We have compiled a list of the seven most important foods that are traditionally eaten during the Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year.

Why do Jews order Chinese food on Christmas?

When and why did Jews begin celebrating Christmas with cuisine from Chinese restaurants? NPR’s Robert Siegel talks to Rabbi Joshua Plaut about this holiday custom, so get your chopsticks ready and dig in while you listen to their conversation. ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: What is the thing that a Jew can do on Christmas that is the most American thing they can do? To answer your question, the answer is work for me.

Allow one extra person who celebrates Christmas to have the day off. On the other hand, when it comes time to order lunch on Christmas Day, I follow the example of a large number of people who share my religious beliefs and order Chinese food. The consumption of Chinese food on Christmas has become as traditional for American Jews as the baking of apple pies.

In addition, as part of our investigation into the customs surrounding the holidays, we have welcomed Rabbi Joshua Plaut into our studios. Welcome to the show and thank you for having him on it. He is the author of “A Kosher Christmas: ‘Tis the Season to Be Jewish.” JOSHUA PLAUT: Delighted to be in attendance.

  • I am grateful.
  • SIEGEL: In the book, there’s a chapter that’s titled “We Eat Chinese Food on Christmas.” How long has this tradition been going on for? PLAUT: At the very least, since 1935, according to The New York Times, which claims that a guy by the name of Eng Shee Chuck delivered chow mein on Christmas Day to the Jewish Children’s Home in Newark, New Jersey.

That is the earliest published mention of Jews eating Chinese food on Christmas. PLAUT: SIEGEL: Depending on how you choose to look at it, it’s either the discovery of Chinese food by Jews on Christmas or the finding of Jewish consumers by a Chinese restaurant on Christmas.

  1. PLAUT: Probably a little bit of both.
  2. SIEGEL: Probably a little bit of both.
  3. And this is how it has progressed.
  4. Over the course of the years, this has evolved into a rather standard practice.
  5. PLAUT: Yes.
  6. Actually, the relationship between Jews and Chinese restaurants dates back to 1899, when a publication called the American Jewish Journal criticized Jews for eating at non-kosher restaurants and singled out, in particular, Jews who flocked to Chinese restaurants.

The criticism was directed toward Jews who ate at Chinese restaurants. Therefore, the union of Jewish culture and Chinese cuisine can be traced all the way back to the time when both Jewish people and Chinese people were newcomers to the United States.

SIEGEL: This brings up an interesting point about a phrase that is occasionally used to describe Chinese cuisine: “safe trayf.” This phrase uses the Hebrew word for food that is not kosher, which is trayf. What exactly is going on here? Jews dining in Chinese restaurants are unknowingly consuming a variety of non-kosher culinary items, such as shellfish and pig products, which are masked as wontons or eggrolls.

You are therefore allowed to indulge in this delightful cuisine without having to worry about unintentionally consuming a food item that is not kosher. In addition, milk is never used at dishes served in Chinese restaurants. Therefore, here is a location where you may go to consume food that appears to be acceptable and kosher but is not in fact, and you can do so with a grin on your face and take pleasure in it without feeling bad about it.

SIEGEL: (Laughter) As you record in this chapter of your book, by the 1950s, the draw of Chinese cuisine on Christmas Day – when we should say the Chinese restaurants were open, which is no minor thing that – the fascination became into the stuff of, to use the technical phrase, schtick. SIEGEL: (Laughter) It was fuel for the body as well as for the body’s sense of humor, right? Yes, Mr.

PLAUT. It was brought up in sketches on television with Alan King and Buddy Hackett, respectively. On the Caesar Comedy Hour, Sid Caesar made a joke about it, making fun of or making a caricature out of Jews sitting in Chinese restaurants and being unable to order food or interact with the wait staff.

It is highly amusing that Philip Roth mentions in “Portnoy’s Complaint” how Chinese restaurant proprietors believed that Jews and English with a Yiddish accent were speaking the King’s English. Roth’s discussion is very humorous. SIEGEL: So if one were to go there, they would get the impression that they were quite well established in the Chinese restaurant? In all candor, PLAUT: On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the local Chinese restaurant served as a sanctuary of refuge for American Jews who experienced feelings of being on the outside.

When you eat at a Chinese restaurant, you instantly become part of the in-crowd. Since it is possible to celebrate someone else’s birthday while still being surrounded by friends, family, and other members of the tribe, an outsider can become an insider over the Christmas holiday.

  1. SIEGEL: So, do you have any traditions associated with Christmas Day that include eating Chinese food? PUT: No, I don’t think so.
  2. As the son of a rabbi, when I was a kid growing up in Great Neck I often went to visit Santa Claus and sit on his knee.
  3. When I was a kid, my family and I would get dressed up and walk around our neighborhood in Great Neck to see the pretty lights that had been strung up on the trees.

After that, we’d head over to Rockefeller Center for some ice skating fun. And I questioned my mother afterwards, while I was working on this book, how she could have taken me out to sit on Santa Claus’s knee when I was the son of a major rabbi and civil rights leader? And she responded with a why not? Everyone in America did that, and you didn’t feel any different about being Jewish because of it.

  1. Therefore, there is no reason not to enjoy the Christmas season.
  2. SIEGEL: (Laughter) I see. I see.
  3. And to continue your mother’s vision and wisdom forward, there is absolutely nothing wrong with non-Jewish American Christian families enjoying some Chinese food on Christmas as well.
  4. This is something that your mother would have approved of.

PLAUT: I believe that we have become a screaming tradition similar to that of “Fiddler on the Roof.” It’s become somewhat of a holiday custom in the United States to celebrate Christmas with Chinese food. And it’s simply something that’s evolved into a tradition that’s associated with the Christmas season.

And it’s part of the joyous season that – it’s one of our modest contributions as Jews living in America to the way of life here in the United States. SIEGEL: Well, Rabbi Joshua Plaut, a very sincere thank you and best wishes for the holiday season. I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy holiday season, a prosperous new year, and a merry Christmas.

Copyright is owned by NPR as of 2017. We reserve all of our rights. For further information, please see the permissions and conditions of use pages on our website, which may be found at www.npr.org. An NPR contractor works under intense time pressure to provide transcripts for the broadcaster.

What is a typical Chinese Christmas dinner?

Why Do Jews Like Chinese Food Traditional dishes served during the Christmas holiday in China are similar to those served at the holiday feasts held in the United States. As an alternative to turkey and stuffing, the meal would consist of roast pork, jiaozi (Chinese dumplings), spring rolls, huoshao (baked roll with or without filling), and rice.

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What foods are forbidden in Judaism?

Treif refers to any food that violates Jewish dietary law and is therefore forbidden. Shellfish, goods made from pig, and food that has not been killed in the proper manner, known as shechitah, are all examples of foods that are forbidden. A kosher slaughter requires the use of a sharp knife and the expertise of a shochet, who is a specialist in the ritual killing of animals according to Jewish law.

What is forbidden in Judaism?

Relationships that are forbidden by the Bible These relationships are prohibited by Leviticus 18: one’s genetic related (Leviticus 18:6), one’s mother (Leviticus 18:7), one’s father (Leviticus 18:7), and one’s stepmother (Leviticus 18:7). (Leviticus 18:8)

Can Jews drink alcohol?

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What can you not eat during Chinese New Year?

When it comes to the Lunar New Year, the Chinese place a lot of importance on the food they eat. Some foods are considered fortunate, while others are thought to be unfortunate. On the basis of several long-standing beliefs, the following is a list of foods that you should steer clear of.

You’ve probably heard of many of the Chinese New Year taboos and superstitions that are practiced in normal Chinese households. Some of these traditions date back thousands of years. I was raised in one, so I am familiar with some of the taboos and superstitions that are associated with it, such as not cleaning the floor on the first day of the Chinese New Year.

It is possible that if you do this, you may lose all of the good fortune and luck you have accumulated for the New Year. It is also against the rules to have a haircut since it may give the impression that all of your good luck has been washed away, and as a result, there will be very few prospects for prosperity over the whole year.

In light of this, what kinds of things can we look forward to experiencing success with during the Chinese New Year? Because in Chinese culture the color red is associated with a wealth of good fortune, longevity, happiness, and vigor, it plays a significant role in the celebrations that take place at this time of year.

As for the cuisine, the following is a list of foods that are said to bring bad luck and should be avoided during the reunion meal and the Chinese New Year celebrations. Chicken is the most prevalent dish that should be avoided on Chinese New Year since it is regarded to bring bad luck due to the fact that chickens scratch their feathers in the opposite direction of how humans do.

It gives the impression that you are dwelling on the past and are struggling to make ends meet in your life. Lobsters are another delicacy that are said to bring bad luck during the Chinese New Year and should be avoided. This is because they swim in the opposite direction, which is an indication that there will most certainly be issues in the year to come.

White foods, including eggs, tofu, and white cheeses, are considered unlucky since the color white is associated with death. As a result, no items that are white in color are permitted during this time. When it comes to breakfast, the Chinese do not consume porridge at this time since they believe it to be a sign of poverty.

See also:  Where Can I Get Good Chinese Food?

Eeping in mind that, according to one of the Chinese superstitions, longevity noodles represent a long life, it is imperative that these noodles not be chopped in any way. People fear that chopping up the noodles will limit their life span. It is also important to refrain from taking any medication, as doing so increases the risk of being unwell for the whole year.

Last but not least, if you consume absolutely everything that is presented to you, you will have very little left over by the end of the year. Maintain a cushion of extra food at home at all times to ensure that you and your loved ones never go hungry.

Is it good luck to eat Chinese food on New Years?

It is thought that eating certain meals during the Chinese New Year holiday would bring luck, wealth, and good fortune in the next year, hence many of the dishes that are served to Chinese families at this time have specific meanings. The consumption of traditional foods such as spring rolls, dumplings, and noodles is said to bring good fortune and wealth in the next year.

  1. People celebrate the Chinese New Year in February with fireworks, feasts of food, traditional dress, and red lanterns.
  2. The celebrations center around the lunar new year.
  3. A large number of Chinese families will celebrate New Year’s Eve by getting together for a supper and staying up late to welcome in the new year.

During the celebration of the Chinese New Year, nearly every item on the table will play an important part in a ceremony. The following is a list of the symbolic meanings of several traditional Chinese foods. READ MORE: Meghan Markle employs an unexpected approach to ‘demand’ attention

What do Jews do on Christmas Eve?

After the Reformation, many people in central and eastern Europe believed that Christmas Eve was a particularly magical time of year. This belief persisted until now. The dead returned to life as specters, witches, and werewolves to haunt the living. Since any kid created during that night was certain to be cursed and grow up to be a tool of the devil, it was best to consume a lot of garlic, refrain from engaging in sacred activities, and abstain from sexual relations.

It was best to do all of these things because it was best. The churches were of little use since evil powers singled them out as specific targets during the Christmas season. As a result, according to Rebecca Scharbach, an expert in Judaic studies, Christmas Eve meant staying up all night with family and friends, singing, dancing, and playing games.

This was done in order to ward off a visitation from the dead. The chaos and bright lights would drive away any evil. This was a Christian practice that was passed down through the generations. “Faced with troops of the returning dead,” she writes, “the savvy practitioner discourages uncanny visitors by creating spaces that belong unambiguously to the living—spaces filled to the bursting point with waking bodies, light, noise, and celebration.” But in addition to that, it was a Jewish one, and it was named Nittel Nacht (Nativity Night).

Jews did not read from the Torah, did not engage in sexual activity, and consumed a lot of garlic while playing cards till the wee hours of the morning. Nittel Nacht is actually a “Jewish adaption of the tradition,” which is why the parallels are so remarkable. The only difference was that instead of an army of the dead wandering the earth, as Christians thought, there was only one: Jesus, who was born Jewish but is now a kind of sorcerer.

On Nittel Nacht, “religious sparks are diverted to feed the power of evil; children conceived under his influence are spiritually corrupted; and the community of his birth cowers indoors,” according to Scharbach, who refers to this Jewish variation on Christmas Eve as “a mystical calculus that speaks volumes about European Jewish anxiety regarding the Christian majority,” who could at any moment unleash murderous pogroms.

  1. Christ walking on Christmas Eve was powerful dark magic.
  2. As a realistic reaction to the threat of terrorism, staying indoors on Christmas Eve in the midst of noisy anti-Semites who felt Jews were guilty for the death of Christ would seem to make sense.
  3. This history is “a tale of two unequal communities buffeted between social conditions that drew them together and distinctive communal neophytes,” as Scharbach puts it.

Nittel Nacht was “not such a radical departure” from the Christian tradition at all, but this does not mean that it “is somehow less Jewish.” It spread quickly, suggesting that this “customary system fulfilled some widespread and urgent need within the early modern Jewish communities of central and eastern Europe.” In addition, during the course of the past century, several rabbinical authorities have voiced their support for discontinuing or restricting the practice of Nittel Nacht.

How do Jews celebrate Christmas?

Why Don’t Jews Celebrate Christmas? Why Don’t Jews Celebrate Christmas? The Jewish people do not observe Christmas as a religious festival in their culture. The reason for this is that on this day we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the central figure in Christian theology, whose birth and death are considered to be of the utmost importance.

  • There is no significance attached to the birth of Jesus of Nazareth according to Judaism.
  • Jesus Christ is not recognized by Jews as being their Messiah for this reason.
  • The biblical Messiah was expected to fulfill a number of responsibilities, including the construction of the Third Temple, the relocation of the Jewish people to Israel, the commencement of an age marked by world peace, and the dissemination of information regarding the God of Israel.

The Jews maintain that Jesus Christ did not even come close to fulfilling these responsibilities. There are some Christians who hold the belief that after Jesus is raised from the dead, all of these responsibilities will be finished. On the other hand, Jews do not subscribe to their line of thinking.

The Jews do not celebrate this day for a variety of other reasons as well. They assert that Jesus was not a prophet and that since He was born of a virgin that He did not have biological parents. They also argue that Jesus was not the son of God. However, according to Jewish beliefs, their Messiah was supposed to come from the loins of His own biological parents.

In addition, Jews do not adhere to the teachings of the Holy Bible. They are the people who follow the Torah, which was at one point disobeyed by Jesus. Miracles were done by him. Another reason Jews do not believe in Christianity despite the fact that they observe this wonderful holiday is that the foundation of Judaism does not rest even the slightest bit on the claims that miracles occurred.

  1. The Jewish theology is undermined by Christianity, which is even another argument in favor of postponing the celebration.
  2. Roman Catholics base their faith on the triune deity consisting of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
  3. On the other hand, Jews believe that God only exists in one form and so reject the concept of the Holy Trinity.

Even though Jews do not celebrate Christmas, the Christmas holiday season sometimes coincides with the Hanukkah holiday, which is the Jewish festival of lights.