Bringing food gifts for the family when they lose someone is a time-worn tradition. Food is not just comforting when dealing with the pain of loss, but it is also much appreciated. The last thing people want to do is cook meals for the visitors arriving to offer their condolences and clean up mounds of dishes. Having finger food handy is a great way to sustain the family through the most difficult days of their lives.
Jewish Traditions Directed by the Talmud
According to Jewish customs, the Talmud does not permit mourners to cook on the first day. For the next seven days, as they sit Shiva to honor the passing of a loved one, you could bring them hampers with items that have a long shelf life and don’t need refrigeration. Contact the person organizing the Shiva and check with them for the specific foods the family needs.
Paying attention to this minor detail is important since food or any other things cannot be taken away from the house observing Shiva for a week. You could bring freshly baked goods like challahs, banana bread, babkas, breakfast bagels, and lox or a big shiva gift basket. Yogurt and shakshuka are also welcome. If there are kids in the house, look for kiddie food that they can eat without help. Adding a few paper plates and napkins is also a thoughtful gesture.
Foods Suitable for Vegans
If your friends are vegans, you could order a shiva fruit basket with a collection of items certified as Kosher Pareve, or free of dairy products. An array of nourishing fruits can do wonders to lift the grieving family’s spirits and make it somewhat easier to bear the loss. Most Shiva hampers have crisp apples, pomegranates, oranges, pineapples, avocados, pears, and mangoes.
You could request to add dehydrated fruits that last long at room temperature. These fruits make for a healthy snack when combined with assorted nuts and dates. They’re also suitable for diabetics and hypertensive people, which is an added reason to order them for your friends.
Jewish Baked Foods
Finding vegan foods that also comply with Kosher restrictions is surprisingly easy since Jewish meals are predominantly vegetable-based. Hummus and falafel are good examples. You’ll find that making the switch to items without eggs, dairy, and meat products can be done.
With a bit of research, you should find vegan versions of traditional Jewish foods and baked goods also. For instance, Schnitzel made with chicken or veal has a vegan version made with celery root and cabbage. Soy-based cream cheese is an excellent substitute for lox, and vegan mayo tastes just as delicious. As for challah bread, that can also be made without eggs and butter.
When you’re reaching out to vegan friends who have lost a loved one, order a hamper with a collection of fresh and dehydrated fruits, nuts, and baked goods made with kosher ingredients with dairy products. It’s the best way to keep up with their traditions and comfort them during a difficult time.