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    How to explain the Book of Leviticus in an atheist nation? China embraces Kashrut

    By Jennifer 8. Lee | February 18, 2008

    In keeping with one of my favorite themes: Jews, Chinese and food:

    The Chinese have gone Kosher, as Ching-Ching Ni explains in a fascinating piece in The Los Angeles Times from earlier this month (I’m catching up with my inbox!). According to Ching Ching’s piece,  China is now the world’s fastest-growing producer of kosher-certified food, with more than 500 Chinese factories producing the approved products.

    Some of my favorite lines:

    It’s even hard for many Chinese to grasp the meaning of “rabbi.”

    “Sometimes they call me ‘rabbit,’ ” Grunberg said. “I start hopping. They don’t get it. I let it pass. It doesn’t pay to explain.”

    Also tricky, explaining Kosher rules without getting God involved (since religion is a minefield in China.)

    Jewish dietary rules originate in the Hebrew Bible, particularly the Book of Leviticus. But rabbis working in China try to sidestep serious discussions on religion to avoid political minefields in a country where anything other than state-sanctioned church activities are strictly forbidden.

    Once, Grunberg said, an official asked him during a public function to explain what religious law kosher is based on. Caught off guard, the rabbi quickly emphasized the common ground between the Chinese and Jewish people, who share long histories of pride and persecution.

    Topics: Jews & Chinese Food | No Comments »

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