Some Millennial Jews Taking Different Approach to Eating Kosher

Bacon may be a popular cultural meme among millennials, but a certain subset are forgoing the pork and focusing on ancient dietary laws: Kashrut, a set of Jewish dietary restrictions originating in the Old Testament. Kashrut, or keeping kosher, means that one cannot mix “a calf in its mother’s milk” or eat meat and dairy together (no cheeseburgers or chicken parm), fish must have gills and fins (no shrimp, lobster or oysters on the half shell), livestock must chew their cud and have split hooves (no pigs) and must be slaughtered according to ritual. Pre-packaged kosher foods must also be supervised by a masgiach, who adds a seal of approval (like the popular OU found on everything from Oreos to Tom’s of Maine toothpast) to confirm the kosherness of any edible product. Sound like a lot of rules? There are so many more. So why is this notoriously rule-breaking generation headed back to 1000-year-old laws?

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Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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