The struggle of being kosher in a non kosher world

One big problem with living in the disparia is the despair of the abundance of non kosher food, and the lack of affordable, available and healthy kosher foods. This is true in Orange county as well as Los Angeles.

Even with the large jewish community of Orange County there is  lack of venues for quality nourishment without selling your first born. I have found boiled eggs and certain high salt and/or high sugar content even in convenience stores. And dairy pastries. Even microwave meals that are dairy, but seem to carry a kashrut that is less than desirable.

As folks try to open restaurants and food trucks the fad of the newness is quickly replaced with the over strenuous demands of the certifying industry which increase not only the cost of the ingredients, but also the time for preparation and final cost to the consumer. The same kosher meats are 4 times the cost of the non kosher counterparts. The requirement for a certified mashgiach including the override to the company providing the service generally takes the place of 2 or more productive employees. Even then that mashgiach is usually looked down as a dimsyl who constantly wants to hinder production and profits.

During Pesach prices are once again double that of normal days. Some establishments say it is the cost of totally transforming the kitchen and/or supply. And others say it is the demand because fewer restaurants are open. I drove to Los Angeles this past Pesach only to stand in line in extreme pain for over 30 mins. When it was finally my turn in line this 20 something female came up and informed me that she was standing there and it was her turn. I looked at the double prices they was charging for Pesach and gave up my place to drive the hour home and cook  scrambled eggs in my own kitchen. I should have saved myself the 3 hours of travel and the cost of the fuel by not leaving home and cooking myself.

I ask why the communities are so non supportive in new ventures. I also wonder why higher prices are tolerated as well as lack of service. Is it that the modern orthodox feel that keeping kosher is not important? Do we somehow feel that eating once in a while in a kosher restaurant is a luxury, or that when we are doing a mitzvah and pay a penance only to be lax in our observance on other times? Why do we allow certain agencies to have a mafia type hold over us, our eating establishments and lives. Are we more willing to delegate the responsibility for our observance to others as we blindly follow those we pay money to, trusting their observance is acceptable by the almighty.

If we as a community and we as a people are going to grow in not only numbers but observance things need to change. First we need to take the responsibility for our own kosher observance. Second we need to demand and support more food industry that is affordable and readily available. Not to mention HEALTHY. Importantly we need to demand, yes DEMAND, from those we trust in the oversight of our eating establishments that they do everything they can to support new and varied establishments and venues. Eating kosher should not be an expensive indulgence. Neither should it be non healthy. Kosher food should be as available, cost effective and healthy as other ma and pa neighborhood establishments in the non jewish world.

If we as a community are going to attract and keep our children and those who feel the need to return. We need an about face which says just educating our children is not enough, we need to put our energy into wholesome establishments so that the lure of leaving kosher observance and assimilation into the eating of the goy is not realized by those who are living and working outside the huppah of the community,

I have been told many times that the OC community would never support kosher eating establishments. And that any restaurant or deli needed to be 100% supported by non jews, and not rely on kosher jews in Orange County. My reply is simple. If we as a community are going to establish viable communities and curb the assimilation we need to do something now about establishing and promoting more kosher establishments in our neighborhoods.

Yes, it is expensive to be jewish and observant. But it is ultimately expensive to not be observant and provide for our own, thus allowing assimilation to cost us everything. Including our children and grand children.


The Long Beach Comic Convention, The Purim Connection

Visiting The Long Beach Comic Convention, The Purim Connection

Judaism speaks about a super race. Men like Adam, Avraham, Yitzchak & Yacob with super genes who have a purpose and desire to change their world.

On my first visit to a “Comic” convention I learned many spiritual lessons I wanted to share.

First off this event in Long Beach was like one of the many normal conventions or themed swap meets I had previously enjoyed. Granted, I never miss donning my brain bucket for the motorcycle shows. And I unabashedly discard my Top Siders during the floating holes in the water events.  There were ample booths of memorabilia, collectables and Tchotchkes. There also seemed to be vendors who were more than willing to supply props for the super hero or super villain to express their persona. But more evident was the shameless self-promotion from many artists and publishers hawking their craft to the varied attendees with pictures of dead presidents longing to escape from their pants enclosures.

The seminars offered everything from how to draw and how to publish, to how to be in real life fantasy groups. Another group discussed how time travel in sci-fi media seem an everyday event. And how someday it will be. Another discussed how things in Sci-fi seem to foreshadow reality. The real life space exploration seminar focused on what Virgin Airlines is doing today which will make daily space flight a reality in the very seeable future. Well, you can guess as to which one I gravitated towards.

As with many “swap” events the attendees were colorful to say the least. There was everything from nerds to hawkers. As well as a few scientists, several actors and more want to be thespians. I even met a real viper pilot in person who kept the Cylons from destroying humanity. The most interesting thing I learned was he had studied at the Tuskegee Institute in my home state here on Terra.

Costumed characters were everywhere. I have not seen as much Spandex since the 90’s. And there were so many Spidermen that I was glad the pest control convention was starting in two days.

Minus the vendor tables I felt I was at a huge Purim event, except folks were dressed and acting to express who they thought they wanted to be inside. Instead of the outside shell concealing the true nature, the costumes were designed to express who they wanted to be if they had the chance.

You see, each of us secretly, or not so secretly, has the desire within us to do something unique. To be someone who makes a difference. To cause a change in our world. To effectively fulfill the event which created us and was created for us. The frustration of not being able to effect the world as the inward man sees it is a tremendous disappointment. It results in everything from depression to physical disease including cancer and other auto immune malefactions.

The horror of being trapped inside a body without the tools or abilities to complete the inward desires can be frustrating. Take ALS PATIENTS. Some, such as Rabbi Yitzi Hurwitz, have found ways to break through the barriers which constrict interaction in this known corporal world. Their struggle in contributing has actively made a huge difference in their world and our existence. Because of their limitations they focus on using all their entire being to connect with their purpose in living. Then and only then they are able to do what they were born to do and bring into this world the meaning and wonder that is uniquely them. They used their limitations to fulfill their purpose in life. The things they manifest in our perceived world is not as important as the fact that they broke through their klippa to allow the beauty of their true inner self to be revealed to their outside world. This is the journey of our creation. To simply break through the valence which compresses the true inner essence and evolve into the creation we are designed to be.

Moshe spoke to Pharaoh saying “Let my people go.” Let the constrictions of trying to build other’s dreams while burying their own be removed. Let the pain of not allowing the connection of the soul within to the all Jewish souls be erased.  Let the outer shell which is parched and dehydrated under the brightly burning pain of adversity crack allowing the inner power of new creation to erupt as a volcano spewing forth a river of transforming energy. Let the sorrow the years of frustration and despondency festered be replaced with the realization that the day of beginnings has arrived. Let the years of regret be replaced with the satisfaction in finally finding fulfillment in fixing the present and future. Let the long days and nights spent on longing for Meshach be replaced with the understanding that we are the messenger who has come into this world for such a time as this.

What did I bring out of the few short hours I spent watching the celebration of fantasy? Resolved: I should find a way to allow my internal self to break through what has held me back from being who I feel I should be in reality. I need to “eliminate” the “assimilation” I have allowed in my ideas and actions. I must acquiesce in my world the reality I have hidden inside. I must allow the seed of creation to germinate and finally terraform this world into the existence of great beauty which is deeply embedded in every ounce of my being.

G-d’s universe is revealed as concealed. Time to reveal the concealed.

Copyright: RIK SNYDER March 20, 2016