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Why do so many millennials keep kosher?




Conversos y Tacos is a gourmet kosher taco truck touring the streets of El Paso this summer.
Conversos y Tacos is a gourmet kosher taco truck touring the streets of El Paso this summer.
Courtesy of Peter Svarzbein

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Kosher food may bring to mind Grandma’s kugel and overly sweet Manischewitz wine, but for the younger generation, things are changing.

Millennial American Jews keep kosher at nearly twice the rate of baby boomers -- 27 percent of Jews 18-29 keep kosher as opposed to 16 percent of Jews age 50 and up. For younger Jews, keeping kosher may be less about religion and more about culture: Jewish deli food has become increasingly popular, just visit the new Wexler’s Deli in Grand Central Market or the roving Canter’s truck to see the evidence.

The high rate of kosher keeping may also reflect the growing numbers of young Orthodox Jews, a broader return to religiosity, or a general societal focus on food-related mindfulness.

What role does food play in cultural and religious observances? What draws millennial Jews to kosher food?

Guests:

Brie Loskota, managing director of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California

Jeffrey Yoskowitz, food entrepreneur, pickler and food writer, co-owner of The Gefilteria