Are vegetarian/vegan diets considered kosher? Do many Jews follow vegetarian diets? Thanks in advance!
There is both a practical and philosophical answer to your question. Many of the laws of keeping kosher relate to the source of the food as well as the separation between meat and milk products. All fruits and vegetables are kosher, while beef, fish and poultry have many limitations. Dairy products, too, are not universally kosher.
Technically, that makes a vegan diet kosher by default and certainly makes it easier for a vegetarian diet to be kosher as well. Having said that, Jews who are very careful about keeping kosher will not eat in a vegan or vegetarian home or restaurant without more information. It is a complex area.
Then there is the philosophical side of the matter. In general, Judaism encourages meeting life’s challenges head on. Among those challenges is behaving in ways that clearly differentiate us from animals. That is what gives us the right to eat animal products. There are certainly notable and respected Jews who are vegetarians. For some it is a health decision and for some it is a deeply thought out decision. However, we would say that they are a minority among those Jews who do their best to follow the Torah.
Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin