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January 23, 2017 / 25 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘fish’

The Prayer For Fish

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

My daughter’s Rav in her Jewish College told a story from his Israeli army days one day in class. I’m sure he was making a great point. But his story stayed long after.

He was the captain and the only religious one in his troop. He felt a great sense of duty to protect his boys physically and spiritually since he reckoned this was a rare opportunity to introduce “his boys” to a bit of Jewish thought. Most were from a poor background meaning deprived of their rich Jewish heritage. Matan, one of the soldiers, as an example, who was raised in a kibbutz where pork was served on Yom Kipper, had certainly never heard nor seen any Jewish practice in action. Matan felt it was his secular duty to scoff at any little Jewish notion that Rav Avi would introduce to them. Rabbi Avi was challenged.

It was during the Lebanese War, and Rabbi Avi and his troop found themselves stationed on the outskirts in Lebanon, far from any army kitchen or store, nor on the regular food delivery route. The troop was hungry. With nothing pressing on their duty roster, Rabbi Avi was convinced by the boys to try to catch fish at the river nearby.

A few of the men were able to construct fishing rods and plied their wares into the water hoping for a catch.

“Hey Avi, you are going to eat the fish if we can catch it?”

“Sure why not?”

“Does that mean if you’re hungry enough you don’t have to keep kosher?” Matan asked, probably more out of real curiosity than even any true malice.

“Are you guys kidding? Fish is the easiest food type to classify as kosher.” Rav Avi excitedly explained, thrilled at the opportunity to throw in a little kashrut lesson when able. “If it has fins and scales then it is kosher. You don’t even have to ritually slaughter it.”

Since Rabbi Avi was not experienced at fishing, he suggested he would provide the moral support by saying Psalms. He prayed that his “fish” prayer should be answered. Not only were the men famished for food, but they were starving for a sign of Hashem in their daily lives as well. In spite of the men’s perseverance in fishing the entire day complemented by Rabbi Avi’s prayers, they were not successful. Not one fish was caught.

“Hey Rabbi Avi, what’s with all those prayers of yours? Not even one fish! You can’t really believe that G-d answers prayers?”

“Matan, we are taught that G-d answers all of our prayers, we just don’t always understand His answer.”

When the men got back to the base, the men were very hungry and frustrated. Some of the guys tried to see what could be put together form the bits of vegetables that were still around. The rest of the men entered the dining tent hoping for some fare. Just then they heard a jeep pull up in front of the makeshift building. A corporal from a nearby and larger base entered the room carrying a large sac.

“I was thinking of you guys and got worried that maybe you didn’t get enough food,” he said.

He placed the pouch on the table and opened it. It was full of fish.

Devorah Hirsch

USDA: Pregnant Women Should Limit Fish Intake

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have warned pregnant and breastfeeding women, those who might become pregnant and young children to avoid fish that is high in mercury.

Kosher fish that are high in mercury include fresh Tuna, orange roughy, grouper and mackerel. Low mercury species include snapper, carp, canned tuna, trout, flounder and salmon.

Previously, the FDA and the EPA recommended maximum amounts of fish that these population groups should consume, but did not promote a minimum amount. Over the past decade, the regulatory agencies said emerging science has underscored the importance of appropriate amounts of fish in the diets of pregnant and breastfeeding women, and young children.

“For years many women have limited or avoided eating fish during pregnancy or feeding fish to their young children,” said Stephen Ostroff, M.D., the FDA’s acting chief scientist. “But emerging science now tells us that limiting or avoiding fish during pregnancy and early childhood can mean missing out on important nutrients that can have a positive impact on growth and development as well as on general health.”

Meir Halevi Siegel

Denmark Bans Meatballs to Accommodate Muslims

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

One of the largest hospitals in Denmark has admitted to serving only halal beef — meat that is slaughtered in accordance with strict Islamic guidelines — to all of its patients regardless of whether or not they are Muslim.

The revelation that Danes are being forced to eat Islamically slaughtered meat at public institutions has triggered a spirited nationwide debate about how far Denmark should go to accommodate the estimated 250,000 Muslim immigrants now living in the country.

The halal food row erupted in July when the Danish tabloid Ekstra Bladet reported that Hvidovre Hospital near Copenhagen has been secretly serving only halal-slaughtered meat for the sake of its Muslim patients, for the past ten years. The hospital serves more than 40,000 patients annually, many (if not most) of whom presumably are non-Muslim.

Halal — which in Arabic means lawful or legal — is a term designating any object or action that is permissible according to Islamic Sharia law. In the context of food, halal meat is derived from animals slaughtered by hand according to methods stipulated in Islamic religious texts.

One such halal method, called dhabihah, consists of making a swift, deep incision with a sharp knife on the neck that cuts the jugular vein, leaving the animal to bleed to death. Much of the controversy involving halal stems from the fact that Sharia law bans the practice of stunning the animals before they are slaughtered. Pre-slaughter stunning renders the animals unconscious and is said to lessen their pain.

Amid a surge of public outrage over the decision to serve only halal beef, Hvidovre Hospital’s vice president, Torben Mogensen, has been unapologetic. “We have many patients from different ethnic backgrounds, which we must take into account, and it is impossible to have both the one and the other kind of beef,” he says.

“First,” Mogensen adds, “I do not think that a slaughter method as such has anything to do with faith. Second is, of course, that all chickens in Denmark are halal slaughtered, and it has to my knowledge not caused anyone to stop eating chicken.”

Mogensen also says the hospital is not trying to “push the Islamic faith down the throats of non-Muslim patients”

In a press release, Hvidovre Hospital states, “We introduced halal meat both for practical and economic reasons. It would be both more difficult and more expensive to have to make both a halal version and a non-halal version of the dishes. Then we have two production lines. It requires more people, more equipment and more money.”

The hospital advises non-Muslims to take it or leave it: “We always have alternatives to halal meat such as pork, fish or vegetarian dishes. It is a question of attitude.”

According to the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, there is no comprehensive inventory of the number of hospitals in Denmark have halal meat on the menu. But officials at the University Hospital in Aarhus, the second-largest urban area in Denmark after Copenhagen, say the decision by Hvidovre Hospital to serve only halal is an example of political correctness run amok.

In an interview with the newspaper Jyllands-Posten, Ole Hoffmann, the head chef of Aarhus University Hospital says: “We have never had a patient ask for halal meat, and therefore it is an issue that we have never discussed. I think it is a strange decision. If there was a desire to serve halal meat, then we would of course consider it, but we would never completely eliminate non-halal meat.”


Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

Soeren Kern

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/denmark-bans-meatballs-to-accommodate-muslims/2013/08/18/

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