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June 30, 2008


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i can definitely relate with you. i am right there with you.

Cynthia Samuels

This is so funny! Got your email before I read this. I'm sure it IS easier for veggies -- vegan is my definite default on the road and in planes -- and at BlogHer for that matter..... See you in SF.


Hey--I'm so glad that Liza introduced us because this is a great post (and I am the kosher vegetarian who ate at the vegan Chinese restaurant in Rockville!). It's hard in this area. It's really hard to eat out or to make those decisions at a friend's house. I've done this for so many years that I do it unconsciously (I've also never had meat so it's different because it's easier to be a kosher vegetarian and not know what you're missing) and I still feel badly when we're in someone's house. Not the stuff that only affects me; but when my choices affect others.

Great post.

Cynthia Samuels

Tzip - I know what you mean! We're actually in Israel quite a bit - if you look around my blog you'll find lots of posts about our trips there (we come to go to Pardes, and with our congregation). My issue is with accepting the hospitality of others, and some of the just plain work - when you didn't grow up with it it can grate on you. OH and don't get me started on Pesach! (actually I wrote about that too, and the Haggim in the fall.) THanks so much for your great observation.


i found your blog on haveil havalim.

i gotta say - you must come for a visit (or more!) to Israel. The food situation is totally different and incredible - i love having kosher food everywhere - in malls, airport, museums - and those tiny little holes in the wall with incredible food are everywhere!

good luck!


This is so good Cynthia; and something I can relate to.
You should definitely submit this to Haveil Havalim.

Cynthia Samuels

Liza it's a great question and one I think I need to write a whole post about. The short version is that I run my home in ways that mean that any of my observant friends can eat here. That means I observe as they do with the same level of adherence.
Going out, I try to use the role models I have. Yes I have always been anti-authority but in a funny way since I CHOSE this authority, it isn't the same. Gotta think about what more to say - as usual you got to the heart of the matter.


I can't imagine how challenging it must be, especially in the context of friends wanting to spend time with you.

I do find the ways that different observant Orthodox Jews find to balance that issue in their lives just fascinating.

Some take what looks to me like a very rule-affirming interpretation -- ie, if it isn't explicitly ok, then it isn't ok, ie the Chinese vegan restaurant. Others take a more boundary-driven interpretation -- there are lines they won't cross, but there is also more grey area, ie willingness to eat foods that are served as kosher, even in a non-kosher home or restaurant.

I'm curious about how you came to your interpretation and decisionmaking process about this, since as you have discussed, it was a major change from your earlier life. It also seems like a very different approach to the rules/authority than you have otherwise taken in your life.

I hope that doesn't come across as judgmental -- it comes from a place of curiousity about your journey and your thinking, not a view that anything is wrong.


"Keeping kosher" is something I have heard about for years, but I never understood what it meant. You explained it beautifully. I would think it can change your life, for the better, to be part of a community like the one you described.

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