The Cooking Workshop often has "down time" while things cook. So while you're in there, why not do a demonstration of the concept of "kosher". the ideas below should help inspire.
The following was excerpted from http://www.jewfaq.org/kashrut.htm
Notes on "relevance to children" are at the end of this posting.
Although the details of kashrut (kosher) are extensive, the laws all derive from a few fairly simple, straightforward rules:
Certain animals may not be eaten at all. This restriction includes the flesh, organs, eggs and milk of the forbidden animals.
Of the animals that may be eaten, the birds and mammals must be killed in accordance with Jewish law.
All blood must be drained from the meat or broiled out of it before it is eaten.
Certain parts of permitted animals may not be eaten.
Meat (the flesh of birds and mammals) cannot be eaten with dairy. Fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables and grains can be eaten with either meat or dairy. (According to some views, fish may not be eaten with meat).
Utensils that have come into contact with meat may not be used with dairy, and vice versa. Utensils that have come into contact with non-kosher food may not be used with kosher food. This applies only where the contact occurred while the food was hot.
Grape products made by non-Jews may not be eaten.
Animals that may not be eaten
Of the "beasts of the earth" (which basically refers to land mammals with the exception of swarming rodents), you may eat any animal that has cloven hooves and chews its cud. Lev. 11:3; Deut. 14:6. The Torah specifies that the camel, the rock badger, the hare and the pig are not kosher because each lacks one of these two qualifications. Sheep, cattle, goats and deer are kosher.
Of the things that are in the waters, you may eat anything that has fins and scales. Lev. 11:9; Deut. 14:9. Thus, shellfish such as lobsters, oysters, shrimp, clams and crabs are all forbidden. Fish like tuna, carp, salmon and herring are all permitted.
All of the birds on the list are birds of prey or scavengers, thus the rabbis inferred that this was the basis for the distinction. Other birds are permitted, such as chicken, geese, ducks and turkeys. Of the "winged swarming things" (winged insects), a few are specifically permitted (Lev. 11:22), but the Sages are no longer certain which ones they are, so all have been forbidden.
Rodents, reptiles, amphibians, and insects (except as mentioned above) are all forbidden. Lev. 11:29-30, 42-43.
Draining of Blood
The Torah prohibits consumption of blood. Lev. 7:26-27; Lev. 17:10-14. This is the only dietary law that has a reason specified in Torah: we do not eat blood because the life of the animal is contained in the blood. This applies only to the blood of birds and mammals, not to fish blood. Thus, it is necessary to remove all blood from the flesh of kosher animals.
Separation of Meat and Dairy
On three separate occasions, the Torah tells us not to "boil a kid in its mother's milk." (Ex. 23:19; Ex. 34:26; Deut. 14:21). The Oral Torah explains that this passage prohibits eating meat and dairy together. The rabbis extended this prohibition to include not eating milk and poultry together. In addition, the Talmud prohibits cooking meat and fish together or serving them on the same plates, because it is considered to be unhealthy. It is, however, permissible to eat fish and dairy together, and it is quite common. It is also permissible to eat dairy and eggs together.
This separation includes not only the foods themselves, but the utensils, pots and pans with which they are cooked, the plates and flatware from which they are eaten, the dishwashers or dishpans in which they are cleaned, and the towels on which they are dried. A kosher household will have at least two sets of pots, pans and dishes: one for meat and one for dairy.
Note that even the smallest quantity of dairy (or meat) in something renders it entirely dairy (or meat) for purposes of kashrut. For example, most margarines are dairy for kosher purposes, because they contain a small quantity of whey or other dairy products to give it a dairy-like taste. Animal fat is considered meat for purposes of kashrut. You should read the ingredients very carefully, even if the product is kosher-certified.
Utensils (pots, pans, plates, flatware, etc., etc.) must also be kosher. A utensil picks up the kosher "status" (meat, dairy, pareve, or treyf) of the food that is cooked in it or eaten off of it, and transmits that status back to the next food that is cooked in it or eaten off of it. Thus, if you cook chicken soup in a saucepan, the pan becomes meat. If you thereafter use the same saucepan to heat up some warm milk, the fleishig status of the pan is transmitted to the milk, and the milchig status of the milk is transmitted to the pan, making both the pan and the milk a forbidden mixture.
Kosher status can be transmitted from the food to the utensil or from the utensil to the food only in the presence of heat, thus if you are eating cold food in a non-kosher establishment, the condition of the plates is not an issue. Likewise, you could use the same knife to slice cold cuts and cheese, as long as you clean it in between, but this is not really a recommended procedure, because it increases the likelihood of mistakes.
Stove tops and sinks routinely become non-kosher utensils, because they routinely come in contact with both meat and dairy in the presence of heat. It is necessary, therefore, to use dishpans when cleaning dishes (don't soak them directly in the sink) and to use separate spoon rests and trivets when putting things down on the stove top.
The restrictions on grape products derive from the laws against using products of idolatry. Wine was commonly used in the rituals of all ancient religions, and wine was routinely sanctified for pagan purposes while it was being processed. For this reason, use of wines and other grape products made by non-Jews was prohibited. (Whole grapes are not a problem, nor are whole grapes in fruit cocktail).
Relevance For Kids...
- Kids are used to all sorts of "eating" rules.
What can you eat, not eat. When can you eat, not eat. Example: can you eat dessert before your meat?
- Discuss hygiene rules about food. (Wash your hands, prepare on clean surface, becareful of cross-contamination, cook thoroughly).
- What foods are "gross" to you?
- "Kosher" food laws are based on some Bible verses that basically instructed the Jews to "be different." In what other ways were the Jews asked to be different? (circumcision, following God's Law, who they could marry, etc etc)
- The Apostle Peter in Acts 10 receives a vision from the Holy Spirit that tells him that new Christians do not have to follow Jewish dietary/kosher rules in order to be Christians. It is a MAJOR POINT OF DEPARTURE in the early Christian movement. It was not a popular teaching among some of the Disciples and Jewish Christians.
God tells "the Church" that following Christ is more important than following the "traditions."
What traditions and rules do WE examine in our church to decide whether someone is a believer or not?
Come up with a list of "basic rules for being a Christian." (ie..if you don't do at least these things, you're probably not a Christian.)