Rivka Zinnes, Baltimore, MD: Bnos Yisroel, Grade 5

OU Kosher Staff

Baruch Hashem, I am now a fully observant Torah Jew, but when I was growing up I did not go to a Jewish school, I never went to synagogue, and I did not keep Kosher. I actually thought that Kosher meant certain Israeli recipes. One day, as a young teenager, I was in a store picking out some very not Kosher foods. Then, a Gentile woman stopped me, and looked at me with discomfort. “You are Jewish and you should eat Kosher food,” she huffed. “I do not know what Kosher is,” I answered, “and besides, why?” “If there is an O with a small U inside it on the package then it’s Kosher, and if you can it, G-d will pay you back.” she said impatiently. Shocked, I ran out of the store with the Gentile’s words glued to my heart.

One day, I decided to give it a try. “Maybe if I would eat Kosher, G-d will pay me with money, really nice clothes, or the expensive toys that I really wanted,” I thought. So I went to the Kosher store. As I walked down the aisles, I had a special feeling inside of me, and I knew I had come to the right place. It was a glimpse of the future! –a little taste of my wonderful life I have now. I searched the store until I found a chocolate bar that had a little OU written on the wrapper. I jumped for joy! I was excited to buy that beautiful bar, and I imagined myself living as a millionaire, as well. I was amazed that this special chocolate bar was so cheap, considering its value. As I left the store, I had the bar in one hand, and a huge smile, but I still was unsure.

I suddenly realized that I was not so sure of the correct way to eat, such holy food. Seeing a kind-looking Jewish man who had the same bar as me, I ran over and said, “I do not know how to eat Kosher. Please, show me how to eat this chocolate.” “Sure,” he answered. He opened his chocolate bar, said a loud bracha, and took a bite. “Is it good?” I asked him. “Of course it is, really good!” he answered proudly.

While I stared in amazement, he said, “Let me tell you what it means; ‘Blessed are you Hashem, our L-rd, King of the universe…’. Now you say it,” he insisted. Shaking, I repeated word after word with gratitude and respect to the King of the universe. Before I had a chance to put the chocolate in my mouth, “Amain!” he thundered. I felt as if a needle popped my whole past and I needed to start a new life –as a Jew. I ate the whole thing with pure joy. It was the most delicious chocolate bar I ever had!

“By the way,” my chocolate friend remarked, “If you are interested, there are some books inside about how to keep Kosher.” I thanked him, and reentered, the Kosher store. I found the Kosher books, as well as other books on Judaism. To my delight, they were published by the OU! Slowly, I began on my way back home and I soon realized how Hashem “pays back”. Kosher is not just something to eat, but it is one of the Jewish people’s ways to connect to Hashem, our L-rd, King of the Universe!