Tamara Elliott, Sacramento, CA: Shalom School, Grade 5

It is a commandment to keep kosher. When you keep kosher, you feel closer to Hashem. If you stop keeping kosher, slowly but surely, you do not understand what your neshama wants. You stop going to shul, and start disobeying your parents. It takes a lot of work to keep kosher. A lot of times, non-kosher food can be very tempting. Especially if there is no kosher ice cream at your local store or even worse, if there is no restaurant. But we still manage to keep kosher.

We shop at Save Mart, Trader Joe’s and other places. We have learned to check if every single product is kosher even if the product is the same brand as a different kosher product. Here is a story that proves my point:

One day, my mom was shopping with my four siblings and me. We went to the store because I just had surgery on my tonsils, and my doctor had suggested that I eat ice cream. We saw lemon ice cream and strawberry ice cream. Since they were the same brand, my mom only checked if the lemon flavor was kosher. She took both the lemon ice cream and the strawberry ice cream. However, she did not know that the strawberry flavored ice cream was not kosher.

After shopping for dinner for the rest of the family, we went home. My mom then gave me the strawberry flavored ice cream. I was about to take a bite out of the ice cream when my mom yelled, “Stop!” I turned around shocked by the yelling. “Emma, what is it?” I asked. She came to me with both flavors of ice cream in her hand and replied, “Look! One flavored ice cream which was lemon flavored ice cream is kosher and the other flavor is not.”

My mom figured out that the strawberry flavored ice cream had something in it called carmine which makes the color red on the strawberry ice cream. Carmine is made from non-kosher products. I then immediately gave the ice cream that was not kosher to a non-Jewish neighbor.

From this story, I hope that non-frum Jews will come to realize how important it is to keep kosher. To encourage non-religious Jews to keep kosher, I would like to have more kosher products. Even though I live a far from a big Jewish community, I can still get kosher products thanks to the Orthodox Union!

OU Kosher Staff