Monica Rozenfeld moves to Brooklyn with two roommates — a Catholic and an observant Jew — and they each seek understanding of what it means to be religious.
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Learning What It Means to Be Kosher
Growing up Catholic, I’ve come across the word Kosher a few times in my life but never really knew what keeping Kosher entailed. My aunt once requested Matza from our local supermarket and I was directed to the Kosher aisle and that’s been my only encounter. So, when Monica informed me that our roommate, Farrah, kept Kosher and showed distaste for anything bacon I thought it’d be easy enough. Boy, did I have a lot to learn.
The day I moved into the apartment I realized my dishes and silverware had to be kept separate from Farrah’s as well as my pots and pans. Imagine my distress when I thought I used one of her frying pans to cook dinner. Luckily, it turned out to be Monica’s and Farrah told me if I accidentally used something of hers, just let her know. The worst that happens is I get another dish and she buys a new one. Easy enough.
Last weekend my friend Wendy visited the apartment and we quickly learned the hard way what Kosher means. When making pasta, Wendy dumped the hot water into one of Farrah’s bowls in the sink. Farrah ran in screaming, “STOP! What are you doing?!” and we froze. It turns out that Kosher is transferred through heat and since our pot was not Kosher and her bowl was, it’s now impure. The way she explained it was that the non-Kosher status of my pot was transferred to her bowl through the hot water.
After some thought, Farrah said she might be able to save the bowl after dunking it in a mikvah through Tevilat Kelim, a ritual purification bath that will cleanse the now non-Kosher bowl. Hopefully this is the case. If not, we’ll have to start an apartment fund to buy her new dishes.