Kosher diets are based on traditions of the Jewish religion and follow the customs of Jewish law. These laws are found within the Torah, a sacred text used in the Jewish religion. They provide an outline of which foods are allowed, as well as how foods must be produced, processed, and prepared prior to consumption.
Many faith-based senior living communities provide this type of diet for their residents so that they may continue to actively observe the type of diet of their choice. However, as society and culture has evolved, some senior living communities have transitioned to more of a Jewish-lifestyle diet. This allows the community to continue honoring Jewish traditions while providing increased flexibility.
There are three main categories when it comes to a traditional Kosher diet: meat (mammals or fowl, as well as products derived from them), dairy (milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt), and pareve (any food that is not meat or dairy, including fish, eggs, and plant-based foods). However, Kosher is not just about the food itself, but also the preparation of the food. All meat and dairy products must be kept separate, in both preparation, production, and service. Additionally, there are certain types of meat and fish that are not Kosher. Specifically, pork and some cuts of beef such as filet mignon. Dairy must come from a Kosher animal and fish must have fins and scales.
The Kosher diet is deeply rooted in tradition and symbolism. That symbolism echoes down to the details of plates and how tables are set for dining, particularly for observance of holidays.
Though our modern, busy lives frequently call for increased flexibility, maintaining the rich traditions of Jewish culture and history is very important for those who observe them. This also applies to senior living communities experiencing a shift in resident preferences and expectations. To meet resident preferences, many senior living communities have begun offering Jewish-lifestyle diets. This allows flexibility to match individual needs and preferences.
For example, some communities do not buy Kosher meat, but they do not allow pork or shellfish. Some may continue to separate dairy and meat, while others will combine the two types of foods. In all of these communities, holidays are honored with traditional cultural foods, though all may not be fully Kosher. Each community must determine what will work best for their residents.
Utilizing a Jewish-lifestyle diet offers flexibility while honoring cultural traditions yet also offers senior living communities the opportunity for greater cost efficiencies.
Our chefs continually innovate and educate themselves on traditional menus and diets, including Kosher, while driving resident satisfaction in each decision. Corporate Executive Chef Mark Hoffman shares that “cooking Kosher and Jewish-lifestyle is another valuable form of being creative as a chef.”
Across CCL Hospitality Group, our culinary and nutrition teams work in collaboration with senior living providers alongside guidance from the community’s Rabbi to ensure any Jewish-lifestyle diets continue to respect Jewish traditions. In some partner communities, we have been able to utilize our design team to design kitchens that can offer both Jewish-lifestyle and strictly Kosher diets. With the creative additions of separate cooking spaces, residents can then be offered whichever diet best meets their needs and offers that next level of personalized experiences.