Keeping kosher is a complex matter that is best understood as a continuum rather than a dichotomy, says UWindsor alumnus John Cappucci (BA 2006).
His article in the journal Contemporary Jewry, “Retain or Reject: The Adherence to the Kosher Laws in a Canadian City,” examines adherence in the Jewish community of Windsor-Essex to kosher laws.
He interviewed 50 participants to determine whether they consumed pork or shellfish, separated meat and dairy, purchased products certified as conforming to traditional dietary laws, and dined at non-kosher restaurants.
Levels of adherence varied based on age and education, Dr. Cappucci found.
“Participants who are younger and more educated will be less inclined to adhere to kashrut (kosher laws) in comparison to those who are older and less educated,” he wrote.
He believes that higher education prompts individuals to reflect on their own cultural and religious practices.
“Perhaps a young man from Windsor was raised in a kosher home, but then left to attend university in a major city. There, he meets other Jews and non-Jews along with appetizing international cuisine,” his article reads. “The new circle of friends and exciting foods influence his opinion on kashrut, causing him to ignore aspects or completely abandon a kosher diet.”
Cappucci is principal of Assumption University and holds its Stephen Jarislowsky Chair in Religion and Conflict. He has taught in the UWindsor departments of languages, literatures, and culture; and communication, media, and film.