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maculated

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PostSubject: Kosher wine   Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:40 am

Every since I began the conversion process, I've been keeping the kosher wine mitzvah very faithfully. Though I found the "not touching non-mevushal wine" dubious, my husband gave me a very sweet, heartfelt thing about us not really knowing why it needed to be kosher and that being a part of the mystery and power of Judaism. Fine, I said.

So then I am reading Blu Greenburg's How to Raise a Traditional Jewish Home (or something like that), and she explains the standard "well, it's to ensure that no other god is invoked in its making" but then says, "But the rabbis agree this isn't really an issue, but it's held up to keep people from intermingling with goyim and preventing intermarriage" and I about threw out all my kosher wine. I showed it to my husband, who then demanded to start reading the book, but as with everything, got distracted. :)

So anyway, what do you all think of this, those of you who observe the kosher wine restrictions? I really, really have a problem with it and bandy's explanation really fell apart after I read Blu's discussion. We're still doing the kosher wine here because he is, and I want to support him, but I guess I'm grasping at straws as to why to do it from a personal hashkafa point of view.
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tamar

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PostSubject: Re: Kosher wine   Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:25 am

http://haroldbaerwine.com/2011/11/kosher-wine-a-theological-quagmire/

Here is a interesting read on the issue and he says the same thing.

The argument behind this new interpretation was that such consumption would lead Jews to fraternize and possibly become intimate with Gentile women and that could lead intermarriage. (While the argument was not specifically made, the reverse was probably also feared: Jewish women might become involved with Gentile men.) The fact that this new interpretation of the prohibition even when strictly followed does not seem to have prevented such intercourse or even intermarriage has not led to its modification.

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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: Kosher wine   Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:36 pm

I don't drink wine at all, so it's not been a problem for me. I was planning on trying to find some for the Shabbat dinner I'm hosting, but if I can't readily get some--and at a decent price--I was going to use regular red wine.

Rabbis acknowledge that true idolatry was eliminated in the world by God himself (it's said that was one of the reasons why prophesy ended: when people no longer had to strive to overcome the pull of idolatry, they lost the capability of reaching the spiritual heights necessary to be prophets).

So, to me, this would seem to indicate that no wine today is in danger of actually being trayf, and the rule is moot.

As converts, I don't think any of us like the idea of not drinking "Gentile" wine because it might make us like Gentiles too well. We're already intermingling with Gentiles--namely our family members, but also friends who predate our conversion. We have to straddle the divide between the two worlds; isolation is not an option (and I don't think it helpful or attractive for any Jew). And I find the "wine = intermingling" argument ridiculous anyways, since most people intermingle over beer or hard liquor these days, and there's no prohibition against those spirits.

That being said, when you buy kosher wine, you know you are supporting Jewish winemakers--and frequently Israeli vineyards. So, if you want to buy it on that account (in the same way you might show shopping preference for a Jewish-owned business, or buy products from Israel because they're from Israel), then I don't see a problem with that.
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tamar

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PostSubject: Re: Kosher wine   Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:33 pm

Mychal wrote:
I don't drink wine at all, so it's not been a problem for me. I was planning on trying to find some for the Shabbat dinner I'm hosting, but if I can't readily get some--and at a decent price--I was going to use regular red wine.

Rabbis acknowledge that true idolatry was eliminated in the world by God himself (it's said that was one of the reasons why prophesy ended: when people no longer had to strive to overcome the pull of idolatry, they lost the capability of reaching the spiritual heights necessary to be prophets).

So, to me, this would seem to indicate that no wine today is in danger of actually being trayf, and the rule is moot.

As converts, I don't think any of us like the idea of not drinking "Gentile" wine because it might make us like Gentiles too well. We're already intermingling with Gentiles--namely our family members, but also friends who predate our conversion. We have to straddle the divide between the two worlds; isolation is not an option (and I don't think it helpful or attractive for any Jew). And I find the "wine = intermingling" argument ridiculous anyways, since most people intermingle over beer or hard liquor these days, and there's no prohibition against those spirits.

That being said, when you buy kosher wine, you know you are supporting Jewish winemakers--and frequently Israeli vineyards. So, if you want to buy it on that account (in the same way you might show shopping preference for a Jewish-owned business, or buy products from Israel because they're from Israel), then I don't see a problem with that.

Well said! I buy kosher wine and grape juice for shabbat and the wine is Israeli wine. I buy wine from Israel because I want to support Israeli business.

My family does drink wine and I would not consider not drinking their wine because they are gentiles.
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Salvia



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PostSubject: Re: Kosher wine   Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:42 am

Old topic is old...
But I just got a bit surprised by a bottle of grape juice I bought. It says 'kasher le pesah - mevoushal'. Already it surprised me to find kosher grape juice (made in France, so kinda local produce Very Happy ), but I was just wondering, why is it kosher for pesach? Why do they write this? I mean, juice doesn't contain hametz, as far as I know...
And stupid question nr. 2: what is 'mevoushal'?
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PostSubject: Re: Kosher wine   Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:04 pm

Juices need special certification for Pesach because they might have been clarified with hametz agents and the equipment used for processing must be "kosher for Pesach" (in case they were used previously with something containing hametz).

"Mevushal" means that the wine has been heated. The idea is that pagans wouldn't think that a cooked wine was suitable for libations (which would make it treif), so this enables Jews to drink wine that had been handled by non-Jews:
MJLearning - mevushal

A funny story about kashrut and wine that my husband likes to tell (but which may be apocryphal):
There is a vegan Chinese restaurant in Berkeley that at least back in the 1908's many local observant kippa-wearing Jews would eat at even though it did not have rabbinical supervision. (There is almost no chance of treif ingredients and even the cookware and plates aren't treif. Plus there are very few supervised kosher restaurants in the SF Bay Area, and even fewer back in the 1980's.) The UC Berkeley Hillel rabbi was eating there and someone asked him about why wine should need certification. He explained, and added that he thought the chance of wine being used for pagan worship seemed unlikely. Then the waiter said that he happened to overhear their conversation and wondered if it was a problem that when he opened wine bottles back in the kitchen, he always poured out a small amount as an offering to some deity since he figured it was just a nice extra blessing for the customers. Shocked
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Salvia



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PostSubject: Re: Kosher wine   Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:15 pm

LOOOOOL!
Actually that isn't funny! Rolling Eyes
But LOL anyway!

But with this mevoushal thing, actually any pasteurized grape juice is kosher - because they have al been boiled, no? It's just that they don't write it on the bottle...Mine actually has it written in French and in Hebrew. I must admit that I'm childish enough to be all happy to find something in a local shop with Hebrew writing on it, and then to read it in Hebrew, just because I can Razz
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: Kosher wine   Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:56 pm

Yes, pasteurization is the same as "mevushal", but it does not take care of all the kashrut issues because it only insures that pagan use after the boiling does not make the juice/wine treif. The juice/wine must be handled only by Jews before the boiling because the boiling does not kasher wine that has already been made treif. Unlike for utensils (such as how immersing in boiling water can kasher treif silverware), I can't think of any situation where a food/drink that is treif can be made kosher by some kind of process.

So all grape juice is not automatically truly "kosher", and people who are strict about it require rabbinic certification for any grape juice. Some of the details are discussed on the OU website: OU Grapes to Kosher Wine

I know many Conservative Jews who sometimes drink wine without a hechsher such as with a regular non-Shabbat meal or use it for cooking, but will not use wine that is not certified kosher for ritual purposes (i.e. when they are making a blessing with it). There is a (lenient) Conservative responsum that most American wine does not require a hechsher, but not all Conservative rabbis agree with that.

Another related story: I have a friend who was raised Modern Orthodox, but now lives a less strict life-style (driving to shul on Shabbat, for example) and is married to a Conservative convert. She was sending her children to an open-minded Orthodox-run community Jewish day school (the school was progressive enough to have two "out" Lesbian teachers). She was upset (and complained to the principal) when the school sent home a note that any wine brought to the school had to be "mevushal". She felt it implied a fear that non-Jews might handle wine at the school and thus make it treif and she took that to be an indirect insult to parents like her husband whom the school authorities did not consider to be legitimately Jewish (and there may have been parents who weren't Jewish at all as well). She felt that the school should just make appropriate arrangements such as to have designated suitable people to open and pour wine.
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Salvia



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PostSubject: Re: Kosher wine   Sun Jun 09, 2013 4:03 pm

So the kasher grape juice has been tried yesterday - it was the wordt juice I've ever drank in my live. Isn't it sacrilege to call really bad products kosher? ;-)
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Sarit

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PostSubject: Re: Kosher wine   Sun Jun 09, 2013 4:49 pm

Oh, I liked the kosher wine I've tasted so far! It was extremely sweet (and I like sweet! Thumps Up ). Unfortunately, I cannot buy kosher products in the stores here, but we do have kosher kitchen in the synagogue building which provides everyday and festive kosher meals. The kitchen imports kosher wine from Austria mostly.

I'm very observant when it comes to wine mitzvah (I like to think of it as of reminder of a complex Jewish history in which Jewish people needed [and still do need] abstract and practical boundaries to strengthen and theorize their identity, and, of course, I like the fact that I'm supporting Jewish-owned business). As for the mevushal, while I'm at the table with others, I try to look at the bottle so I could see if the wine is mevushal. If it's not or I cannot see it, I usually wait a little and soon someone would sip me some without me touching the bottle.

Usually I'm the only one at the table in my congregation here who cares about (not) touching non-mevushal wine, but I still prefer to respect the norm.
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