I Tried It- Cholov Yisroel

3 weeks ago Shayna Solkowitz 0

So, Kosher. We know about keeping meat and milk separate, about Kosher symbols, Kosher wine. But, did you know that there are different ways of keeping Kosher? Wild, right!

When it comes to dairy food, there are two types of Kosher: OU-D, and Cholov Yisroel. Let’s make one thing very clear, OU-D is kosher, Cheez-Its- kosher, Cheddar Chex Mix- kosher, M&Ms- all kosher. I recently decided to try something new, and thus gave up on all of these delicious delicacies. What is that thing, you might ask? I tried keeping Cholov Yisroel. 

Though Cholov Yisroel is something I’ve been familiar with for most of my life, it was never something I thought I’d adhere to. I definitely didn’t think I’d change up my diet because of it. Okay, so what the what Cholov Yisroel? Cholov Yisroel translates to “Jewish milk”, and basically it means that a Jew (a rabbi, also known as a mashgiach) was a part of the milking process from start to finish. Whether it’s feta cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt or regular milk, in order for something to be Cholov Yisroel, a Jew must oversee the whole process. 

So, what’s the difference between OU-D and Cholov Yisroel? Here’s a history lesson: Back in the day, in order for milk to be kosher, a Jew had to oversee the whole process because there weren’t any government health guidelines, which meant anything from pigs milk to horse milk could be mixed in with cow’s milk and deem it not kosher. Nowadays, there are government mandated guidelines that state that if you’re selling cow’s milk, it must contain only cow’s milk, which is why OU-D is still more than widely accepted. Still, in order for milk to be Cholov Yisroel, a Jew has to be present and watching the entire process.

I’ve been keeping OU-D my whole life. My family eats OU-D, and I have too. OU-D was my life, I ate cinnamon toast crunch in the mornings, I had cheez-its for snacks, I bought my milk from Costco, the norm. This summer in camp though, I learned something that changed my perspective and helped me ‘dare’ myself to try keeping Cholov Yisroel.

This summer at camp, my friend and I were talking about Kosher, and she explained to me that according to the Alter Rebbe(the first Chabad Rebbe) the milk we drink affects our faith and relationship with G-D. This took me aback, so I wanted to learn more. Now, I personally think that one can still have an incredibly close relationship with G-D drinking OU-D milk, don’t get me wrong. I just thought that I might  as well do everything I can to have the strongest relationship with G-D I can, and if that meant trying to eat Cholov Yisroel, I would try it. 

 I’m a big believer in every little thing we do counts, so just by choosing the OU-D chocolate milk instead of the one without the symbol makes a huge difference. That being said,—and because I live near a big Jewish community that provides Cholov Yisroel in most grocery stores—I wanted to try something new. 

Last on this  summer, I went back to visit friends in my childhood hometown of Raleigh, NC. (Shoutout to the new CTeen chapter there:) I was there for two weeks, and didn’t have milk for any of those days because there was no where to purchase this special milk. It was REALLY hard because some mornings, I just wanted a bowl of Cheerios and milk, you know? Now, I could have waited to start my ‘I Tried It’ until I got home to New Jersey where Cholov Yisroel Milk is easily accessible, but I knew that if I could keep Cholov Yisroel in a place like Raleigh, I could keep it anywhere. 

Now, if you want to take on Cholov Yisroel or anything kosher in general, or just try it, I recommend taking it slower than I did. It’s just when I try something like this, I have trouble pacing myself. Also, you don’t need to take it on forever. I certainly didn’t. I never really gave myself a timeline, I’m kind of just doing it, going with the flow. Now, ‘I Tried’ Cholov Yisroel, so why don’t you get out there and try something? Dressing modestly, wearing a kippah or tzit tzits, keeping kosher, praying, any of these are things you can try. Whether it’s 3 days, a week or a month, it doesn’t matter, every second counts. So get out there, and try to do something that will bring more G-Dliness into this world.