[Sca-cooks] Was Khazar Kosher ( Sca-cooks Digest, Vol 17, Issue 74)

Steinfeld, Henry S CIV NAVAIR PMA-209T&E/AIR 1.6.3 Henry.Steinfeld at navy.mil
Wed Oct 3 06:10:40 PDT 2007

 Message: 7
Unto the List,
As indicated in the original post, the discussion does only address the
Jews of Khazaria, however, the Muslim would also have been more
comfortable with the kosher restrictions than the Christian, though they
had their own dietary guidelines.  As to the discussion of who was
Jewish in Khazaria, there is DNA evidence to indicate that there were
two distinct Jewish elements in the Kagante.  The first was the Semitic
Jews from the middle east and other parts of Europe and Asia.  Then, as
you indicated there were a group that did convert as well.  These
converts did not do so in a vacuum, there was a significant Jewish
population before the conversion.  There is a great deal of discussion
on this point on a variety of lists, but the essence seems clear based
on DNA that there were Semitic Jews already established in the region.
The next discussion goes to the labeling of Khazar.  Originally they are
a Turkic tribal people, but later become a regional distinction is made.
Much like say we are all American even though we are made up of a number
of ethnic stocks.  So it was in Khazaria.  This is a long comment to
point to the fact that a Jew in Khazaria would have kept kosher because
for them, regardless of convert or ethnic origin, they would have
followed the law as stated in Torah and Talmud.  For that matter, the
very early proto-Christians would also have kept kosher since the
essence of conversion was to follow the law hence the root stock of the
word for zealot, or zadokite.  Both imply an intense requirement to
follow the law.

It is unfortunate that Europe did not follow the tolerance exhibited
within the Khazar Kaganate, things would have been far less bloody.  Now
I am looking for a good food selection that I can cook, keep kosher and
will last through the judging of the Persona Pentathlon!


Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2007 13:28:28 -0400
From: "Saint Phlip" <phlip at 99main.com>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Was Khazar Kosher?
To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
	<30aedccb0709281028l558856eao3ac45c9e5f482fef at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

While you may have a point regarding the Jewish Khazars, the Khazars
were not a completely Jewish group. Initially, only their rulers
converted, then members of the nobility, then the common people- and not
all of the latter two groups converted. The Khazars were a very tolerant
nation, and religions of all flavors were allowed to flourish, from
their original animistic paganism, through and including Christianity
and Islam, as well as, no doubt, whatever other religion someone chose
to profess.

On 9/24/07, Steinfeld,  Henry S CIV NAVAIR PMA-209T&E/AIR 1.6.3
<Henry.Steinfeld at navy.mil> wrote:
> When I first sent out a request for help on the topic of Khazar/ 
> Caspian sea foods, the question came back as to whether or not the 
> Khazars were kosher.  The research I have done on this would indicate 
> that they very well may have been.  This is based upon the fact that 
> the Jews in Khazaria were rabbinic Jews and so followed the Talmud 
> (Babylonian
> Talmud) which had recently been completed (about 460-490).  Those 
> Khazar Jews who were not Rabbinic Jews were Karites which are a strict

> literal sect following the Torah only and so again would have been 
> following the dietary laws which would be considered kosher.  
> Recognizing that many of the kosher laws and Muslim dietary 
> restrictions are similar would make such living, especially in any
trading center or town quite possible.
> Though to date I have not found any specific references to foods 
> (other than the dietary guidelines) an the book previously mentioned 
> (Tender Meats under the Saddle) I can see no reason to think they (the

> Khazars) would have not followed the Law as given in the Torah and
> In Service
> Khadir

Hank Steinfeld, FIAE
Lead APM T&E, PMA 209, Air
(301) 757-6744

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