Weird and Crazy Kosher Animals
October 15, 2009 by Howard Blas and Jamie Zimmer
Ari Zivitovsky is a little like an ancient explorer. The scientist rabbi travels the world looking for different kosher animals. Zivitovsky has come head to head with grasshoppers, guinea fowl, buffaloâ€”even giraffes!
Zivitovsky and his childhood friend, Rabbi Ari Greenspan, are both Americans who came to live in Israel. They are both rabbis and doctors. Lots of information has been lost about which animals are kosher, so these guys are on a mission to find the secrets of weird and crazy kosher animals! A friend came to the two Ariâ€›s and asked them if a kosher pheasant could be prepared. Neither of them was sure, since the Torah tells us about the 24 birds that are not kosher, but since those times, many more species of birds have been discovered! The rabbi doctors did lots of research and Rabbi Yosef Kafich taught them that pheasant is kosher, and in his Yemenite family, they have been eating kosher pheasant for centuries!
Zivitovsky and Greenspan have travelled the word together in search of exotic kosher animals. They went to Turkey in search of the Talmudic Shiboota fish, to Cyprus, in search of a special grasshopper that is considered kosher, and recently they were called to an animal park in Israel to research giraffes. Giraffes are considered kosher. The reason we donâ€›t eat them is because giraffes are so strong that they could kill a lion with one kick. It would be very hard for a shochet to try and hold them down!
Since 2002, Zivitovsky and Greenspan have been holding special dinner parties, where people can come try all sorts of newfound kosher animal dishes, including pigeon, sparrow, water buffalo, fallow deer, red deer, Muscovy duck, partridge and pheasant. And for dessert? Grasshoppers! The two Ariâ€›s have certainly shown us that there is more to keeping kosher than eating lots of chicken!