This short, witty book (96 pages), in the planning stages for years and the result of blog posts and comments on the Internet since 2007, reflects on the physical characteristics of a variety of mythical and imaginary animals, and makes mostly tongue-in-cheek decisions as to whether or not they are suitable for ritual slaughter and consumption by kashrut-observing Jews.
References to The Guide as it nears publication are cropping up in the Jewish media. The Forward is publishing an article about it in its January 1, 2010 issue (now online), and with the viral nature of the Internet, you'll be seeing a lot about it before February 15.
Which makes us go one step further and ponder a question to which we have not yet found any answers: Are any of the Dr. Seuss creatures kosher? How about The Sneetches, The Lorax, Humming Fish, Brown Barbaloots, or Swomee Swans? And if they're not kosher to eat, do their physical and emotional characteristics make them Jewish and obligated to eat only kosher food?
Let's analyze the possibilities: First of all, we have to decide if the Sneetches are birds or mammals. Since they don't have any visible mammary glands, we would rule out that category. The Torah doesn't give us kosher characteristics for birds, only forbidding birds of prey and specifically named species.
But if they're not kosher, might they be Jewish?
We invite you to comment on these monumental halachic and sociological questions by clicking on "Comments" just below this post, and continuing a lively discussion.
(A tip of the kippah to Esther Kustanowitz, who spotted the article in the Forward and brought this subject to our attention.)