Strictly Kosher in Making Hummus At Olive Tree, we take our ‘strictly kosher’ proclamation very seriously. The word kosher in Hebrew means suitable, meaning “suitable for human consumption” as food. We keep our kitchen strictly kosher, surpassing most certifications out there in many ways: 1. We have a mashgiach kashrut (kosher overseer) on staff, unlike most facilities that rely on a one-time or annual inspection and certification. The kosher certification industry is a big multimillion-dollar business, and sometimes, as long as you pay the fee every year, you can maintain your certification. “I decided early on,” says owner and founder Yaron Semitisky, “to study this issue in depth, especially since the study of religions, in general, is a big passion of mine. And that’s exactly what I did, and in the process, I learned a thing or two.” 2. Our kitchen is always at complete rest on Shabbat! Which possibly sets us apart from some companies out there that receive the kosher certification. 3. Since we operate a 100% vegan kitchen, it is very easy for us to comply with the strict separation between meat and dairy, popularly practiced in Jewish tradition for centuries. Interestingly, I was actually surprised to learn through my study of the Hebrew Scriptures that this old custom is a result of a complete misunderstanding of the text, which says: לא תאכל גדי בחלב אמו, which translates to “you shall not eat a kid in his mother’s milk.” This passage came to be understood to mean that you shall not cook milk and meat together, which is, of course, very silly, I now realize. What this biblical verse actually means is that one should not slaughter and cook a kid, a lamb, or a calf, who is still nursing his mother’s milk. It was very clear to me that because of the level of cruelty towards both mother and baby, the scriptures prohibit this practice. But regardless of which way you may interpret this verse, we at Olive Tree don’t have any issues with the matter because we simply avoid both meat and dairy altogether. 4. We conduct careful inspections of all ingredients. We use high-quality organic ingredients from trusted sources. We thoroughly inspect our chickpeas for any foreign material or even an occasional bad chickpea, which we consider not kosher or not suitable to be a part of our diet. Keeping our food all-natural is also an integral part of keeping it “strictly kosher.” There’s no doubt in our minds that if, in the biblical era, there were artificial ingredients, preservatives, food coloring, and pesticides, they would certainly be declared as nonkosher. Of course, no one could have predicted back then in their wildest imagination that people would actually put these additives in their food … and yet, the mainstream kosher industry would certify it as kosher because the Bible makes no mention of it.