February 1, 2005 | Issue 18

Surgeon General to Require Warning Labels on Cholent

article pic WASHINGTON, DC — [TheKnish.com] The Surgeon General announced today that beginning next month, cholent will be required to carry labels warning of the long term health hazards of consumption. This announcement follows years of research on the dangers of cholent.

Cholent, the traditional Jewish Sabbath feast, contains meat and high-carbohydrate products that simmer in bubbling animal fat for a period of around twenty-hours. According to the Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Dr. Richard H. Carmona, “Data has conclusively shown that cholent contributes to heart disease, arterial sclerosis, obesity, erectile dysfunction and depression, and is the fourth most dangerous food in the world, after spiny blowfish, wild mushrooms, and bacon.”

The new warning labels will be affixed to cholent mix and packages of prepared cholent. In addition, all kishka packaging will carry a prominently displayed skull and crossbones, the international poison symbol. Warning signage will also be required in both English and Spanish at kiddushes throughout the country.

The Jewish community has been divided in its response to the news.

Zalman Proscutto, the Chairman of the Jewish Catering Association (JCA), declared at a press release that, “This ruling is a mistake. This has been our way of life for generations and we believe it to be safe. Our industry has conducted extensive research on this topic and our findings have never demonstrated a linkage between cholent and health problems.” Commenting on the Association’s research methodology, Mr. Proscutto added, “Our lead scientist, Mordechai Wolhgebruchser, must have gone to over a thousand kiddushes in developing his comprehensive study. And we stand by his hard work, may he rest in peace.

But the decision was welcomed by the Healthly Organic Torah Foundation for the Unity of Jews (HOTFUJ). Rabbi Psachyah Vildechayawitz noted, “This is a long time in coming. Cholent is a long term hazard. After all, over the years, cholent has probably killed more Jews than anti-semitism.

The Surgeon General is threatening additional measures against the cholent industry. In an exclusive interview with TheKnish.com, Dr. James Canterbury, the Undersecretary of Health, outlined potential future targets. “We are very interested in forcing cholent producers to reveal their secret additives. Chemicals research has suggested that Ketchup, wine, honey vanilla, and tobacco are among the substances being added surreptitiously to enhance flavor and increase dependency – no wonder people cannot get enough of it!

Additionally, the Surgeon General’s office is concerned that the cholent industry has been intentionally targeting children. “Why do you think that at kiddushes cholent is positioned right next to the baby hot dogs and across the aisle from the cookies?”

Another controversial target is second hand cholent. “It has been known for years that bystanders recoil at the effects of second hand cholent. People shouldn’t be subjected to this exposure against their will,” Dr. Canterbury added.

Legislation was introduced in New Hampshire and Maine last month to ban the consuming of cholent in all public areas. Similar legislation is currently being developed in Mississippi and Louisiana. However, cholent lobbyists have thus far prevented any debate on the topic in New York, New Jersey and Maryland, the so-called “cholent-belt” states.


Pencil Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein is a part time free-lance journalist and the full time Rosheshiva (dean) of Yeshiva Chipass Emmess. He is reknowned for his scholarship, including his oft cited commentary on the Talmud Yerushalmi, and his three volume official biography of Jenna Jameson. He may be reached through his Yeshiva's website at: http://www.geocities.com/npoj8/index.html.


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