You Don’t Have To Be Jewish To Enjoy Kosher Food

Dr. Isma Chaudhry and Habeeb Ahmed, President and Vice President of the Islamic Center of Long Island, noshed on the many mini plates being served at the first Kosher Taste of Long Island this week.

Chaudhry and Ahmed expressed enthusiasm for this event sharing that “We are family and belong to one community. We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else tonight.” Many kosher and halal dietary laws overlap, especially when it comes to the slaughtering of animals and forbidden foods.

The owners of JLoft Event Space, a Southern and Caribbean style caterer, came to see what trends are popular in the kosher food scene. Ralph and his wife, both chefs and event planners, were amazed by the assortment of international offerings. They left contemplating adding sushi like the rolls offers by Sushi Tokyo, Wok Tov’s original “hot dog egg rolls” and Colbeh’s Persian rice and lentil dishes to their menu options at their location in Brooklyn.

Twenty-five vendors participated in the event that over 400 people attended. The event was sponsored by The Jewish Community Relations Council of Long Island. According to Mindy Perlmutter, this was a first-time program and the response was overwhelming. “The interest in this event represents everything JCRC hopes to accomplish. As Long Island is home to one of the largest concentrations of Jews outside of Israel, by hosting events like this we are able to build relationships among Jews of all affiliations and their non-Jewish neighbors, solving problems and serve as a resource of information and advice,” she added.

There were offerings from and for everyone. Lederman Caterers featured a fresh raw tuna taco made with homemade warm laffa bread. Regal Caterers featured a multiple meatball tasting. Cosmopolitan Caterers featured multiple parve fish tastings, Genadeen Caterers shared their stuffed mushrooms with a dairy-free cream sauce, Wok Tov handed out their famous “Chinese Hot Dogs” and Shop Rite Supermarkets featured traditional Jewish fare like gefilte fish.

Desserts were overflowing. The most unique offerings came from an unlikely source: a senior assisted living facility, Gurwin Jewish, featured an assortment of finger cakes and cookies. Allison Luckman of Allie’s GFG featured Mandela bread, blondies and mini iced cakes that are gluten, dairy, peanut, tree nut, coconut and sesame free homemade goodies.

No kosher food fair is complete without award-winnings spirits. Morad Wineries brought four of their best selling exotic fruit wines, including their latest, mixed berry, made in the Carmel Mountains.

Recanati Wines, also from the Galilee, were highly recommended by tasters surrounding me.

For Chanukah, Shoreline Beverage, located in Huntington, Long Island, shared an amazing “Hanukkah Pass the Beer ” According to Stuart Haines, proprietor, the brew is “Specifically made for the holiday with eight varieties of hops, eight different malts, and 8% alcohol.”

Kosher can no longer be defined by overstuffed deli sandwiches, bagels and lox, and challah as talented chefs assembled an event to satisfy any international palate. Spices including saffron, turmeric, zaatar, oregano, ginger, garlic and cumin enhanced the plates filled with Italian, French and good “Old Americana” dishes like pulled brisket and baked salmon.

This night proved that You Don’t Have To Be Jewish to enjoy an evening of food and camaraderie.

Click here to read the other stories in You Don’t Have To Be Jewish with Cindy Grosz

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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