Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Chalav Conundrum

If you think about it, frumkeit in NYC is an anomaly. By that I mean that the experience of being frum here is unlike anywhere else in the world. Where else do they have comparable resources available? Not even Israel, from what I hear. Case in point: when I was dating the last time, one NY guy, when I asked where he was holding, decided to list all his dietary chumrahs. I refrained to pointing out that I hoped he planned to remain in NY for the rest of his life, because no way could he perpetuate that list outside of the Greater NYC area.

Which leads me to the point of this post. Until I lived in NY, I didn't bother with chalav Yisroel. To be honest, it was for the most part unavailable, and when it was, it was easily double, if not triple, the price of regular milk. Since I had never kept that chumrah growing up, I didn't feel the need to deviate from my stance. As one of my rebbetzins pointed out, all milk in North America is kosher!

And then I moved to NYC, where to keep chalav stam is scorned. True, given the ease with which one can procure chalav Yisroel and generally tolerable pricing thereof, why wouldn't you buy it? To be fair, I never took the chumrah upon myself- I just love Hershey's Special Dark too much. But I have refrained from buying a litre of chalav stam.

Yet last night I was in ShopRite, and given that I had been unable to find the brand of chalav Yisroel I like in the local shops, decided to peruse the dairy aisle for once. And I made two discoveries. First, while chalav Yisroel comes in skim, 1% or whole milk, chalav stam offers 2% as well. And my taste preference has always been 2%. Secondly, the chalav stam was a full 30% or more cheaper than the chalav Yisroel.

So I'm faced with a conundrum. Do I cave and get the 2% going forward. Or do I suck it up and keep paying more for my less fave yet supposedly "holier" 1% chalav Yisroel? Comments, please!


  1. Chalav Yisroel also goes bad 3-5 days before expiration date.
    Mountain Fruit has Chalav Stam cheeses on sale.

  2. The "new" brand (Machmarim)is actually not bad on that front. Of course, good luck finding it in stock as a result. :)

  3. It's always in Pomegranate for $2.

  4. Thanks for the tip! Although I may be staying with my "treif" 2%. :p

  5. I would love to comment,but can't really add anything of value. Other than ask your LOR. I know just as many frum people who adhere to chalav Yisrael at all times as those who only do it partially or don't keep it at all.