Milk Of Israel


And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aron, saying unto them,
Speak unto the people of Israel, saying,
These are beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.
Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that ye eat.
And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud, he is unclean to you.

Leviticus 11:1-3, 7

Milk of Israel is a film project and installation set against the backdrop of the dairy farming community in Kanturk Co. Cork, following the supervision process of Super Kosher milk production in North Cork Co-Operative Creameries for Yavney Food Industries in Israel.

The title ‘Milk of Israel’ is a translation from the Hebrew word ‘Chalav Yisroel’, a Jewish religious term referring to dairy products derived from cows or sheep milk, milked under supervision of an observant Jew. Kosher foods are foods that conform to the regulations of Jewish dietary laws found mainly in the ancient biblical books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

The creamery produced 'super kosher' rennet casein for three weeks every year for the Orthodox Jewish market between 2005 and 2010. At the time they were the only producers in Europe of super kosher rennet casein under the inspection of Jewish Rabbi, primarily due to the small scale operation of the creamery. Kosher Certification was supervised by a team of Orthodox Jewish men and Rabbis managed by Beth Din Zadek in Jerusalem, Israel.

Dark room with a big screen propped up showing the image of a man walking through a fieldStack of papers on a white surfaceBig gallery room with white table full of papers and three wall-mounted tv playing a videoBig gallery room with white empty walls and a wall-mounted tv playing a video

Installation view Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, Co Cork

Yacov Yanki Jack | 2015 | 32 minutes | colour | sound | digital video‘

‘Yacov, Yanki Jack’ is a filmic work that takes us inside the practice of rabbinical supervision or ‘Chalav Yisorel’ as we journey with Yacov Abenson, a Jewish Orthodox supervisor from Manchester in England doing ‘spot check’ supervision on Irish dairy farms supplying North Cork Creameries in the Cullen area in County Cork. Constant supervision on the 100 farms supplying the creamery was not feasible during milking, so these spot checks were a substitute for continuous supervision. On this journey we witness a rare glimpse into this ancient Jewish religious practice in a modern day Irish rural dairy farming community, bringing together two very different cultures through a niche economic exchange.

Yacov, Yanki and Jack are the Rabbi’s names in Hebrew, Yiddish and English.

The Word

by Maria Faustina Tanner
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