Lox block: UWS congregation takes beloved salmon off the menu, citing environmental concerns


(New York Jewish Week) — A synagogue on the Upper West Side has announced that it will no longer serve lox — otherwise known as cured salmon — during its weekly kiddush lunches that follow Saturday morning Shabbat services. 

Rabbi Shuli Passow, the director of community engagement at B’nai Jeshurun, wrote in an article posted on the synagogue’s website Thursday that the popular Ashkenazi delicacy will be “eliminated from the menu so we can do our part to reduce the environmental impact of pollution and overfishing.”  

“We know that for some this is a heretical move,” Passow wrote. “We are here to support you as you process this change.” 

The article, “The Return of the Community Kiddush,” highlighted the reemergence of kiddush, a beloved post-services tradition, which was halted during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the piece, Passow explained that, following small group conversations with multiple sectors of the synagogue, many changes are being made to the meal, including smaller tables and chairs for young families and concluding the meal with a “song of gratitude.”

“While not everyone agrees on what food should be served (no surprise there!), there was widespread consensus that what we eat and how we eat it should intentionally express our values,” Passow wrote. 

Passow acknowledged this might “be in tension with others.” 

“We hope to achieve an overall balance even if one value is sometimes favored over another,” she wrote, adding that the congregation will solicit feedback and make “further refinements” as needed. 

According to The World Counts, a data project that brings awareness to environmental damage and climate change, the world’s oceans could be virtually emptied of fish by 2048. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries division determined in August 2018 that five Pacific salmon stocks are now “overfished” and one stock is “subject to overfishing.”