Baltimore Jews have mixed opinions on Impossible Pork

Impossible Pork is entirely plant-based
Impossible Pork is entirely plant-based (Impossible Foods (image reversed))

Across Baltimore, Jewish community members have a range of opinions on whether or not Impossible Pork should get a kosher certification. The JT reached out on social media for comments, and the reactions poured in.

Beth VanderStoep, a resident of Baltimore’s Canton neighborhood and a member of B’nai Israel, said she sees the issue as a complex one.

On one hand, Impossible Pork may be made entirely of kosher ingredients. On the other hand, the Orthodox Union is one of America’s largest associations of rabbis, who have a responsibility to set an example for the rest of the Jewish community, she said.

“What they say has a major influence,” VanderStoep said. “And so, on one hand, while this product, yeah, technically could qualify for a kosher certification, you’re also looking at an organization that sort of has its hands tied right now, because if they give it a kosher certification … then they are going to have loads of people be really angry with them.”

Alan Cohen, a resident of Baltimore’s Cheswolde neighborhood and a member of Chevrei Tzedek Congregation, noted how chickens and turkeys do not produce milk, but that rabbis still mostly agreed to ban the eating of birds with milk just in case someone might ever confuse beef, veal or lamb with chicken.

“The danger of confusion – you think you’re eating impossible pork but it’s actually the real thing – would be present here,” Cohen wrote.

George Faber, a resident of Mt. Washington, who supports several Chabads, emphasized his inherent dislike for pig-related products, having grown up in a kosher household.

“Was never a fan of pork and never EVEN touched bacon,” Faber wrote.

Jennifer Silverman, a resident of South Baltimore and member of Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah Hebrew Congregation, was more critical of the OU’s decision.

“I have long since thought that Hecksher is much more about politics and profits than religion,” Silverman wrote. “This decision completely cements that for me[.] I am glad I stopped looking for Heckshers years ago.”

As for Michael Pereira of Rockville, a member of Magen David Sephardic Congregation, he wrote, “Can someone please invent some impossible corn[ed] beef and hash??!!”

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