Adventures of a Chief Rabbi: Synchronous Elderly Couple BMI and “Kosher Style”

Feb 16, 2016

Synchronous Elderly Couple BMI and “Kosher Style”

The scent of fish and marijuana was strong on the warm ocean breeze. The half-moon and the brighter stars shone through the humid night sky. To complete the sensory input, my evening was akin to a movie, with a soundtrack through my earphones keeping me blissfully unaware of most other auditory inputs. I was out for a night stroll on the Montevideo Rambla. It was emptier than I was accustomed to, which I attribute to the Rolling Stones concert tonight, promoted with extreme fanfare.

Helmetless riders sped by on their bicycles. Teenagers on roller blades tried vainly to catch up with them. The rare skate boarder floated by reminding me of bygone ages. Then you had the runners. You can tell they were training seriously, as their shirts (when they wore them – most of the men carried them wrapped around their right fist) often proclaimed what race they had been in previously. The joggers wore or held less identifiable t-shirts. Then you had the walkers. They come in all shapes, ages, sizes and attires. Some times it is singles, often it is couples and finally you’ll have entire families or groups of friends walking in a pack. Last but not least are the sitters. Many take advantage of the plentiful public benches or seat-high Rambla walls. Many others bring their own beach chairs. All are armed with the ubiquitous Matte drink accessories, which my readers will recall consists of a hot water thermos and the Matte cup with the leaves and the special metal straw.

I noticed one elderly couple on a bench. The man proudly displayed his bronzed beer belly as he slouched on the bench. What caught my attention, however, was that the woman seated next to him, who I presume could be none other than his wife, appeared to have the exact proportion of body mass as her husband and sat with the exact same slouch and posture on the bench. They appeared to be male and female versions of the same person. How curious, I thought.

A few meters later, I passed by a thinner elderly couple and again I was struck by the eerily similar body parallels. They both had a small tires’ worth of fat around the middle, while the rest of their body’s were thin. But again, they sat at an angle that was identical, with the same curvature of the spine, the same tilting of the head. I’m starting to sense a trend.

Half a dozen elderly couples later, with more and more matching couples, I come to the conclusion that over the decades there is a mirroring that occurs between couples that have lived so long together. I don’t know if it’s due to diet, lifestyle, furniture choices or other localized environmental factors, but it became obvious that at some point over time there is an equalizing force that synchronizes a couple’s Body Mass Index as well as a host of physiological traits. Who affects who, I wondered. Which is the dominant partner in this biological progression? Does a spouse’s good posture and habits persevere in the face of the lazier spouse, or does the unhealthy spouse bring down the resistance of the healthier one?

One spry-looking couple gave me hope. They looked to be well into their seventies and were jogging at a respectable pace. They both appeared slim and healthy though slightly stooped by age. Their synchronicity was that they jogged with the exact same gait.

The walks, besides being great for people-watching, give me time to review my day. One notable consultation was on the theme of “Kosher Style”. It seems more and more non-Kosher (and Kosher) caterers are offering “Kosher Style”. The organizer of an upcoming Jewish event had been given instructions to order “Kosher Style”. She came to me inquiring as to what are the guidelines as to “Kosher Style” as she was unfamiliar – and who better to ask about it than her local Chief Rabbi?

I gently explained that “Kosher Style” from my perspective is a nonsensical oxymoron. It is like saying a woman is half-pregnant, or talking of a meat-eating vegetarian. From the perspective of Jewish law either it’s Kosher or it’s not.

I suspected that the “Kosher Style” request came from political motivations, on one hand, wanting to show some respect to Jewish tradition and sensibilities, but on the other hand, Heaven forbid that they should actually eat Kosher food and be seen to be obeying our birthright.

However, I was dealing with practical people who wanted my input on what they should or shouldn’t order, within their budget and constraints.

I explained what I had heard about “Kosher Style”: They don’t serve meat and dairy together and they keep away from ham and shellfish. When I started discussing meat, they stated that they won’t be serving meat at all, which simplifies matters. I told them what fish, milk and cheeses they can use. There’s a chance that at the end it may even be a Kosher event.

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