Jewish Elders Lift 6,000-Year Ham Ban
JERUSALEM--Ending a strict, six-millennia prohibition of the consumption of
cloven-hoofed beasts, the World Rabbinical Council announced Tuesday that
Jews worldwide may "dig in to the delicious taste of ham."
"The Jewish people have always had the utmost reverence for the laws of
G-d, as handed down from Abraham to his son Isaac, to his son Jacob. However,
from time to time, it is necessary to make slight revisions and modernizations
to these laws," said council president Rabbi Menachem Saperstein, sucking on
a hambone, his white beard soaked with succulent ham drippings. "As no less
a Talmudic scholar than Moses Maimonides once wrote, 'Change is the way of the
Added Saperstein, "Mmm... this is some tasty ham."
According to Rabbi David Feinberg, head of the American Congress of
Orthodox Rabbis, the newly approved ham will be incorporated into a number of
"During the Passover seder, which commemorates our people's deliverance
from slavery in Egypt, we will remember the day G-d brought us unto the Land of
Milk and Honey by drinking a tall glass of milk with a thick slice of
honey-glazed ham," Feinberg said. "And joining the charoses and maror on the
seder plate will be a ham roll, symbolizing the juicy, mouth-watering taste of
Feinberg also noted that an abbreviated version of Passover, to be
called Hamover, will be observed on the third Saturday of every month. The
new holiday, he said, will involve "the eating of tons of ham."
Saperstein will officially announce all the changes to the dietary code
next Friday during a World Rabbinical Council cookout at the Wailing Wall.
Though some of the details have yet to be worked out, most notably those
involving the kosher status of redeye gravy and the Talmudic interpretation of
"all the trimmings," Saperstein said he would stress the important role ham
has played in his people's ancient roots.
"As it is written in Genesis, Noah had a much-beloved son named Ham,
who was the father of all Canaan," Saperstein said. "From this day forth,
we shall honor Noah's greatest son by partaking of the flesh which shares
Saperstein also noted that the complex genealogies of the Pentateuch
lend credence to the theory that Abraham bore a son named Bakon, and that
one of David's in-laws was known as Zebulon Bar-Sausage.
Shortly following the announcement, Orthodox Jews across the country
stormed grocery stores, feverishly buying up all the ham they could carry.
"Canned ham, smoked ham, sliced ham, potted ham, ham loaf--they were
all flying out of here," said Chris Dinardo, manager of a butcher shop in
Borough Park, a Hasidic neighborhood in Brooklyn. "Just last week, those
same customers would stare longlingly at those hams for hours before slumping
off with a roast turkey."
"Last night, five or six of those fellas with the long beards and black
hats came in here and ran up a $564 bill," said Jack Burkett, owner of Smoky
Jack's BBQ in Rocky Mount, NC. "Every time we'd bring them a plate, they'd
just choke out the words, 'More pig,' between bites."
Though the departure from traditional kosher law may seem like a radical
change, Jewish elders point out precedents such as 1977's experimental Yom
Lobster holiday, and stress that Judaism is not above modification.
"The original codes were set down thousands of years ago by a nomadic
people with no knowledge of refrigeration, preservatives or disease control,"
said Rabbi Eliyahu Baruch of Yeshiva University. "While we retain many of
these traditions to honor our ancestors and our God, we recognize that they
are unnecessary from a practical standpoint. Have you ever smelled bacon
frying? Oy, vey, how my mouth waters."
"For six millennia, the story of the Jewish people has been the story
of survival," Baruch said. "But even the most indestructible race would
lose their will to live after 6,000 years of brisket."