20080303-kosherburger.jpgAccording to the New York Post, a kosher restaurant on the Upper East Side of Manhattan has started serving kosher cheeseburgers using soy cheese to skirt the kosher dietary doctrine that forbids serving or eating dairy and meat together.

The restaurant's customers find the soy cheeseburger delicious, downright sacri-licious in fact. After so many years (some say thousands) of wandering the streets of Gotham wondering what a cheeseburger tastes like, they no longer have to deny themselves this singular taste treat.

Other people find it offensive. Why?

The restaurant's critics, kosher traditionalists who think the very idea of a cheeseburger is problematic, find it despicable, disgusting, and deplorable.

Some choice quotes from the story:

"I would never entertain the thought of eating cheese - real or fake - with meat," comedian Jackie Mason, who keeps kosher, told the Post. "It makes me nauseous just thinking about it." ...

"Jewish law is very concerned for appearances," said Rabbi Basil Herring, the executive vice president of the Rabbinical Council of America. "Not only should you always do the right thing, but it should be seen as the right thing.

"Any Jew who keeps kosher knows a cheeseburger is not permissible. But what happens if a young kid, a 10-year-old, goes in there and says, hmm, maybe cheese on a burger is OK?"

As a Jew who has never kept kosher but has always respected the rights of other Jews to do so, I think the critics of the soy cheeseburger are on the wrong side of the rabbis on this one.

These same people eat beef and turkey bacon and don't regard them as sacrilegious, do they? In fact, I hope that next week the kosher restaurant serving the cheeseburger starts serving a turkey-bacon cheeseburger. And maybe those will spread to bar mitzvah pass-arounds so that the bar mitzvah boy's family can serve pigs in blankets and bacon cheeseburgers. I don't think I would have minded sitting through so many of my friend's bar mitzvah services if I knew bacon cheeseburgers and pigs in blankets awaited me.

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