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5 Smart Answers to Stupid Kosher Questions

If you keep kosher and have a diverse group of friends and dining partners, it seems inevitable that you will at some point have to explain yourself. Kosher can be complicated, and of course a 3,000-year-old practice will never be as fashionable as the diet du jour. Then again, Paleo came back from the Stone Age, but I digress.

Inequality being what it is, the lucky 1% either inherited or somehow acquired an aptitude for the clever comeback. That leaves the rest of us with the useless skill of ruminating over a missed comeback for days, only to come up with the perfect response just in time to beat ourselves up for the delay.

So we’ve consulted with Marty Nemko, award-winning career coach, radio personality and Psychology Today contributor, for bulletproof answers to common questions about keeping kosher.

1. What does it mean to keep kosher?

SHORT, SERIOUS ANSWER: It means following a set of dietary laws, he explains, including but not limited to the following: “We don’t eat meat with milk, and we avoid shellfish and pork. It’s a tradition with its roots in religion as well as rationality, because in ancient times, food preservation wasn’t what it is and shellfish kept poorly, for instance.”

MORE EFFECTIVE RETORT: “For the same reason Christians eat those fruit cakes with green things in them.” Nemko explains: “This answer is inclusive rather than defensive. It’s a way of saying I’m not weird, every religion has its own seemingly random or inexplicable traditions.”

CONCISE COMEBACK: “Like Hebrew National Hotdogs, we answer to a higher authority.”

2. Does this mean you’re, like totally Orthodox?

Click here for your answer options.


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