Jewish Food: Jewish Identity

Jewish and Goyish, Lenny Bruce

Dig: …Kool-Aid is goyish. Evaporated milk is goyish even if the Jews invented it. Chocolate is Jewish and fudge is goyish. Fruit salad is Jewish. Lime Jello is goyish. Lime soda is very goyish.

All Drake's Cakes are goyish. Pumpernickel is Jewish and, as you know, white bread is very goyish. Instant potatoes, goyish. Black cherry soda's very Jewish, macaroons are very Jewish.

Mordecai Kaplan, Judaism as a Civilization

In the next stage of the Jewish civilization, the [laws of kashrut] will not be observed as dietary “laws” commanded by God, or as mystic symbols of what man must do to qualify himself to enter into communion with God. But these distinctions should be maintained as traditional folkways which add a specifically Jewish atmosphere to the home. Such observances should not be regarded as intended to help one earn salvation in the here or in the hereafter, nor to produce a marked effect upon one’s character. Maimonides’ argument that the forbidden foods have a physiological effect which is prejudicial to the mind or spirit is scarcely worth considering. Equally untenable are the so-called hygienic reasons which are advanced in defense of the dietary laws... Such justifications are gratuitous from the ancient point of view, and unacceptable from the modern point of view. But if Jews are not to exaggerate the importance of the dietary practices, neither should they underestimate the effect those practices can have in making a home Jewish...

Once these practices lose their character as laws and become folkways, Jews will be able to exercise better judgment as to the manner of their observance. There need not be the feeling of sin in case of occasional remissness, nor the self-complacency which results from scrupulous observance. Moreover, since the main purpose of these practices is to add Jewish atmosphere to the home, there is no reason for suffering the inconvenience and self-deprivation which result from a rigid adherence outside the home. From the standpoint urged here it would not be amiss for a Jew to eat freely in the house of a Gentile, and to refrain from eating trefa in the house of a fellow-Jew. By this means, dietary practices would no longer foster the aloofness of the Jew, which, however justified in the past, is totally unwarranted in our day. As for the fear that social intercourse between Jews and Gentiles may lead to the disintegration of Judaism, the reply is obvious: if Judaism is inherently so weak that it requires the artificial barriers of social aloofness fostered by dietary laws for its maintenance, the very need for maintaining it is gone. It is true that increased social contact with the Gentiles will prove a challenge to Judaism’s inherent strength, but that challenge cannot be met by a defensive retreat.