Letter: Animal Crackers Have to Go

There is an issue that I think should be addressed and which I am disappointed that frum-owned food companies have either not yet recognized, or worse, ignored thus far.

I’m speaking of animal crackers. I know that they are so common and so loved by children that nobody gives it a second thought when giving them as a snack. But we should because of the lesson that we are unintentionally giving them.

Feeding young, impressionable boys and girls with these crackers might make for an easy, guilt-free snack, but think of the implied message: animals like lions, horses, and bears are kosher. We wouldn’t give our children a coloring page that showed a frum yid eating a snake, so we shouldn’t give them a literal cracker of a non-kosher animal to eat either! This isn’t rocket science, it’s common sense.

In my view, animal crackers and cheeseburgers are cut of the same cloth. One leads to the another, perhaps not directly, but eventually. We know that eating non-kosher is mitamtem – it defiles the soul of a Jew. I would argue that eating animal crackers do the very same.

The problem is not limited to the animals being non-kosher. It extends to the fact that these animals are being eaten whole – as if they were still alive. That is eiver min hachai, and there is definitely no teaching about shechita and other integral kashrus concepts when a child is eating animal crackers. This is a problem.

I know some people might think I’m insane, but I can assure you that I’m not. The fact is that in today’s world we need to be overly sensitive, overly careful, and overly vigilant to protect our children and raise them with the proper hashkafas hachaim. Giving them literal non-kosher shaped animals to eat is the antithesis of everything else we do to raise them al pi derech hatorah.

If your child needs a snack, there are many, many options to choose from that don’t include nefarious, deleterious messaging. And that’s something we should take seriously.

Chava S.,

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  1. Is it ok to have a stuffed teddy bear? How about a piggy bank? Is mickey mouse acceptable? When we eschew chazir, we are supposed to say we would really like to eat it but we desist because the Torah forbids it. Likewise, if I can never eat a real bear, because the Torah deems it impure, I can nibble a little sweet replica.

  2. once again frum people jumping aboard the toxic cancle culture, if you have an issue with animal crackers dont give it to your kids, but keep it to yourself your not a tzadakiz for putting this thought out there

  3. This letter brought me back to when my son,now a kollel yingerman with 3 children and a house in a Lakewood development, was a bored high school boy. He and his friends in the dorm wrote a very similar letter to popular Jewish newspaper. They signed it “concerned Lakewood mother”. To the boys delight, the paper printed the letter and for weeks people wrote letters pro a day con this issue.
    Thank you Chava S. For the memories.

    • I remember something like that too: A letter to single girls to stop focusing on careers and learn how to keep house as well as getting into shape. The rebuttals lasted weeks. Much more entertaining than animal crackers.

  4. Since it appears by every letter like this I’ll do it.
    Why are you jumping down her throat for wanting to improve our children?
    Would it kill you to not have animal crackers?
    Everyone who is bothered by this needs to look at themselves!

  5. Why is everyone criticizing the letter writer??

    I personally had a hard day, and opened the Lakewood scoop for news, and then I read this letter, I had such a good laugh, it made my day!!!!

    Thank you very much to the letter writer for making my day!!!

  6. Gevalt! I’ve been eating lions whole since I was given Animal Crackers as a young child, and now it turns out they’re not kosher! I hope this letter starts a movement that will save our children from the same fate.

  7. @Yochy, Well said!
    Don’t make such a big deal out of a little satire. Let the people that enjoy this type of humor have a good time. I happen to think that this satire is a poor attempt at humor, but the comments section is a whole new level! 🙂
    Thanks @TheLakewoodScoop!

  8. She says there are many other options. A brand new option I found today is “Non-Animal crackers by Chava”
    They adhere to every Chumra out there. They have 6 Hashgachas (not like the questionable ones with only 5).
    She said she has a letter from the Rabbonim urging everyone to buy her crackers in large quantities.
    Remember “An elephant cracker today leads to a cheeseburger tomorrow.”

  9. Bartender?

    I’ll have what the letter writer is drinking.

    Make it a double.

    Yes. Only the Kosher schnapps, please. Old Williamsburg or Slivovitz.

  10. B”H I raised a big family. All my kids grew up with animal crackers and they are all frum kosher eating Jews today. I think this letter writer is going too far.

  11. One hundred percent true! When my toddler plays with her kitchen set I make sure she kashers it between milchigs and fleishigs! I am hoping that this article will bring the Jewish brands to put on a self clean feature as is required by many halachic authorities!

  12. We may not all be on the level of the author of this article. But if i recall correctly I one time heard a shiur from R Kalman Krohn ztl about having Mobile turning characters attached to cribs that had pictures of Animals that were not kosher and could make an impression on new babies who gaze at the images hanging over their crib. His suggestion was to place pictures of Gedolim. Mind you i believe Rabbi Krohn had a colorful teenager years and became a Godol. yet caring for so many especially IDF Chayalim. yet he felt gazing at non kosher animals is not good for ones neshama. And i am sure he had sources for such.

    We may not be on such a level but the author has a point and one we can respect. and not mock.

    Many things can make impressions on our youth or even babies. How about talking and drinking parties in Shuls? Do you think it doesn’t have an effect on our children. Everything does.

    So this author is serious and has a point. We may not be on her level of kedusha but that does not make it illegitimate. At the same point we cannot Asur everything that comes by our way- if not children will go way past the gedarim of orthodoxy to find entertainment, My shver Ztl was a rav in Flatbush and learned his whole life. He never went to concerts and such. He was an illuy and learned his whole life. But he was concerned if we asur all outlets for our children and say all is asur, then they will find real asur things to do and listen too. Unfortunately the generations are changing and adaptation is needed. At the same time we can and should understand that kedusah is important and if someone can live on such a level they should be praised and not mocked.

    We understand that the music a mother listens to while pregnant can make an emphasize on the child both min hatorah and scientifically ( as noted the story of Yakov and Eisev when their mother passed different locations). Sound of a mother womb can calm a child. Soft music can calm a child inside a mother womb. Music with a beat can make a baby inside the mothers womb more active. So can impressions of looking at not kosher animals be possible? yes. And eating shaped animal cookies can possibly be a problem if your looking to have a holy future child?. and yet it still be kosher to eat. Should we try to protect out children at least when they are little ones from exposure before they really get exposed to the world it is today. Maybe we should.

  13. chabd and kalman i have a question. how do you explain parshas noach if your kids doesnt know what a lion is that hit noach. your views are anti chinuch. you are inventing your own lev tahor nonsense. will you now explain the makka ov oreiv as a mixture of kosher animals only? how about tzifardea? kinim? arbeh? never take kids to the zoo? what do you do with the gemaras that speak about throwing things to the dogs. your kid wont know what a dog looks like. idiodic anti torah veiwpoint you give lakewood a bad name. get a real ruv and get a life

  14. Even worse it teaches the kids that the bracha on a lion is mezonos when it would actually be shehakol.

    As to the eiver min hachai issue I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen children take bites out of live chickens at kaparos thinking they were crackers. If you insist on feeding your kids animal crackers please make the effort to at least shecht the cracker first.

    Thank you, I needed a good laugh this morning. Can’t wait for Purim too.

  15. Even if the crackers would only be from Kosher animals, I would be concerned that any breakage of the cookies could lead to children to believe that eiver min ha’chai is permitted. This is a problem even for non-Kosher animal crackers, since eiver min ha’chai is assur even for b’nei Noach.

  16. Nebach – there are people not embarrassed to firstly publicly make fun of a another yid and secondly to make fun of a writer who simply requested to ask the Jewish companies if they can produce kosher images of animals on a kosher snack for children. If you are sincerely a yiras shamayim \someone who when having your own children would want to teach them from such an impressionable young age – even by handing them a snack…that this snack you are eating is a kosher animal. I am in my 40s and I too remember thinking way back then when I was a child that we are eating images of non kosher animals – as I became a mother I also wondered what is so hard for all of the Jewish companies to produce only kosher animal like images on a simple cookie – for the millions of Jewish children who will be eating these cookies for centuries?. Of course, having a stuffed animal is not the same – you are not putting it in your mouth – which would be eating threif. Much respect – to those who can try to understand where the idea of putting kosher images in your mouth come from. (Especially for such young impressionable children who are just starting to learn about what kosher and non kosher is all about).

    Just an idea – is to try to contact all of the Jewish companies who actually produce animal crackers and nicely request of them to produce only jewish images on snack crackers. Much Hatzlocha!

    • Please understand that most if not all animal crackers are produced at non-jewish factories. The label may bear a heimishe name, and be a special pas yisroel run, but the shapes on the cookies, will be the same as the generally produced crackers.

  17. Just curious, are the male animals waiting until 22/23 to begin dating? Would love to see the statistics. If they don’t have a shidduch crisis then perhaps we can learn from them.

  18. Animal crackers definitely need to be kosher as well as preferably kosher animals. Also very important before eating make sure the seal is not broken. Don’t eat the seal as it is not kosher. But check that it is there and not broken

  19. Animals Crackers have been here for a long time and all suddenly someone criticize the problematic on food ??? Are you ok ??? There isn’t a problem with a cookies!!! Just be quiet and focus on your family problem. If you don’t like it don’t buy them anymore and don’t tell others what to do and what not to do!!!!

  20. I’d think the bigger problem of AIVER MIN HACHAI is eating human-ear shaped cookies – aka hamantaschen/אוזני המן – and especially since he was such a big rasha…

  21. Wait a minute, your forgetting….. If 1 eats ONLY KOSHER animal, crackers I hope the Company will only make them till the 13th Rib.
    Oh & for sure if they add the UTTER, Side of a cow… they’ll have to package them in 2 different bags…. 1 or Milchig & 1 Flashig. Any fish… Parve….
    Thanks 4 a Really good Laugh! Needed it!!

  22. According to the pesak from having ha’rav Chavah S, gummy worms and gummyBears should also be assered as well, it’s mamish not shayich that so many yiddim are michshal on such tremendous avarah’s, we mamish need a tikun in klal’yiroel! We need to make an assifah for this!

  23. First of all I am appalled at the reaction of so many who are so quick to condemn this letter.

    Second of all, I have a suggestion that I actually implemented in my home that uses animal crackers as a way to be mechanech our children properly. I will list the rules we use:

    1. Only eat animal crackers after having washed and made hamotzi so that there is no confusion about the brachos.

    2. Sort all the animal crackers to separate the treifa animals – which teaches our children about which animals are kosher and which are not. Then throw out the non-kosher animals and only eat the kosher ones.

    3. Do not eat ANY animal crackers without first cutting off the head. This teaches children about shechita and also how to use a knife. If you want to get more advanced you can have your children check the knife first to make sure it is sharp enough by running the blade across their wrists.

    4. After touching and handling the non-kosher animals give your child a bath as a way of teaching about using a Mikvah when Tamei

    5. After benching add a special Haraachaman – here’s our version: Harachaman shenassan lanu ugos kesheiros v’ugos treifos v’chachma ubinah lezahot shtuyot.

  24. I heard many years ago about this situation. One of the lead poisiks in lakewood nj had told me when I asked him about this question and he told me that by not eating animal crackers it is a segulah to have children.

  25. Deep thinkers have serious issues. The fact that people identify as a deep thinker shows that the problem is worse then one can imagine.

    Animal crackers are fun entertaining and jewish in every way.

  26. Do we have to stop at animal crackers that have no features that make them look real, or should we extend this to birthday cakes with pictures and delicious little frog cupcakes?

    Either way, it will greatly help my diet.

Comments are closed.