Top 10 FAQs I get as an Orthodox Jew in the Workplace

I’m lucky to be surrounded by some pretty amazing colleagues. They are also very curious (in a good way!). Here are the top ten most commonly asked questions and my attempted responses. Number one undoubtedly goes to:

#1 What makes something kosher?

The varying levels of responses may include:

  • The basics: We don’t mix meat and milk.
  • Intermediate: We only eat certain cuts of meat, and no shellfish.
  • Advanced: We check every leaf for bugs.

#2 Why the early Fridays?

So I can get home before the Sabbath starts. Aka 4:33pm in the winter months. Once it begins, most daily activities come to a complete halt (e.g., using my cellphone or computer/driving/turning on lights/cooking etc.). Thus, I got to rush home to decide which lights I want on in the house for the next 24 hours and pre-cook all my food for dinner and the next day’s meals including lunch on Saturday which I will eat after walking home from synagogue where everyone I could possibly need to reach lives within walking distance of because none of us can drive. Hence I got to leave early.

Short answer: because I can’t light a fire.

#3 If I make you something at home with kosher ingredients, can you eat it?

Thank you so much, that is so thoughtful. But, no.

Why not?

The risk of cross contamination is too high. You would need separate meat and dairy dishes. And those dishes would need to be dunked in rainwater.

#4 So if I buy something, how do I know if it’s kosher?

Easy! Look out for: COR, OU, Circle K, Star K, BCK, MK, Kosher.

#5 Why do Orthodox Jews get married so young?

Well…we can’t have pre…pretty obvious…next question?

#6 How come most Jews I know don’t practice the way you do?

I’m super strict (relatively speaking).

Then why don’t you wear a wig?

Well…I personally don’t but a lot of women do.

So all your friends do shave their heads? 


#7 What happens if you turn on the lights/drive on Sabbath/eat pork?

God comes to me in a dream. Jokes. Nothing happens.

#8 How is it that with such a big Jewish community in Toronto, there are no kosher options downtown?

I ask myself that every day.

#9 Are Vegan places technically kosher?

That’s the million-dollar question.

#10  How often do you travel to Israel?

As often as I possibly can.

For what?

To hang out with my people. But mostly, to eat.


…Till next time!

Just another Yid in the workplace





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