Tag Archives: Kosher Titanic

Being Kosher on titanic

Collapsible lifeboat D photographed by passenger on Carpathia on the morning of 15 April 1912.
Public Domain(Wikipedia)

One  of the underreported aspects of Titanic is that there were Jewish passengers aboard. Only 27 Jews survived and they were welcomed by the Hebrew Sheltering Home and Immigrant Aide in New York. Synagogues all over the country viewed the sinking as a tragedy. And inspired songs as well.

One of the problems encountered by Jewish passengers was staying true to Kashrut (religious dietary laws called kosher). Jews comprised a fair number of 3 rd class passengers on these ships but many ships had no facilities for kosher food preparation. That meant either you brought rations to eat on the voyage or you fasted. And fasting was not easy on a 5 day or more journey across the Atlantic ocean. In fact, some died from starvation.

The Hamburg-Amerika line started in 1905 having kosher food prepared aboard to serve to mainly 3rd class Jewish passengers. Other lines began to do the same because they could market that Jews would get kosher food aboard their ships to America. And since 3rd class was very profitable for the large liners, it was worth the cost to do so.

The Hebrew steerage passengers were looked after by a Hebrew who is employed by the company as a cook, and is at the same time appointed by Rabbi as guardian of such passengers. This particular man told me that he is a pioneer in this work. He was the first to receive such an appointment. It is his duty to see that all the Jewish passengers are assigned to sleeping quarters that are as comfortable and as good as any; to see that kosher food is provided and to prepare it. He has done duty on most of the ships of the White Star line. On each he has instituted this system of caring for the Hebrews and then has left it to be looked after by some successor. (U.S. Immigration Report, 1909)

Titanic had kosher service according to a recent article on jewishpress.com. “All kosher serving dinnerware and utensils for all classes on the Titanic were marked “milk” or “meat,” and mashgichim (supervising rabbis) were authorized by White Star to regularly inspect the ship’s catering departments in both England and New York. Those who ate kosher food used the same tables as everyone else, were served in the same manner, and were fed food of the same quality.” There was also a kosher butcher that supplied meat and rabbinical supervision to make sure the food was prepared according to Kashrut dietary laws.

Sadly no kosher menu has survived from the White Star Line but it is surmised they did exist. References to kosher meat and being served to Jewish passengers suggest that a menu had to exist. It is a fascinating bit of history to read about. And continues to show Titanic still has stories to tell.

Source: Sailing Aboard The Titanic: A Kosher Cruise? (jewish press.com, 11 Sep 2019)

Titanic Newswrap

(Photo Courtesy George Behe)
(Photo Courtesy George Behe)

1. Premier Exhibitions, which bills itself as “a leading presenter of museum-quality touring exhibitions around the world” has announced its first quarter earnings for 2014. Bad news for shareholders. Total revenue was down by 22% compared to last year at this time. Gross profits decreased as well. Average attendance at exhibitions were down and ticket prices decreased by 9.6%. Hurricane Sandy shut down the South Street Seaport in New York City which impacted income. Some new exhibitions being planned: exhibition featuring characters from movie Ice Age and an artifact based one called City of Pompeii, Italy. As for the Titanic artifact sale, this is what was announced:

The previously announced group of individuals (the “Consortium”) that entered into a non-binding letter of intent with the Company on October 15, 2012 to affect a purchase of the stock of RMS Titanic, Inc. remains active. While the Consortium, which is based in the Hampton Roads region of southeast Virginia, has made progress in aligning the necessary resources, the effort is not complete. Given the amount of time that has passed since the LOI was signed, the Company has decided to pursue other strategic alternatives to maximize the value of the Titanic assets in parallel with continued discussions with the Consortium.

In other words, thanks for the interest but we are moving on. Give us a call if you get the money.

Source: Press Release-Premier Exhibitions Reports First Quarter Fiscal 2014 Results(11 Jul 2013,Global Newswire via Yahoo)

2. Marshall Weiss, editor of The Dayton Jewish Observer, was recently awarded The Jacob Rader Marcus Award for Journalistic Excellence in American Jewish History for an article series called “Kosher Titanic – and other Jewish Connections to the Ill-fated Liner.”

The series included stories about a Jewish survivor who returned to Manchester, England, to open a kosher butcher shop; the burial of Jewish survivors at Halifax, and a Jewish baby boy separated from his mother on the night of the sinking, and then reunited with her on the Carpathia. The series was picked up by most major Jewish newspapers across the U.S., and on the Times of Israel website in 2012.

Source: Dayton Jewish Observer Publisher Honored For His Work(17 Jul 2013, Dayton Daily News)

3.  Titanic shows up at county fairs and summer events in different ways. Cardboard regattas (or other similar floatable ideas) take place with awards for the most creative and dramatic sinking. Sometimes it shows up as a 12-foot replica at the Sullivan County Fair in Indiana. Rob Overton is an EMT by trade by got fascinated by Titanic when it was found in 1985. He first built a 40 inch model but he did not like it. So using original drawings he made a 12-foot replica which now can be seen at the county fair. While he has other items in his Titanic exhibit, the replica is the centerpiece.

Source: Titanic Exhibit at Sullivan County Fair Features 12-Foot Replica(16 Jul 2013, My Wabash Valley)

4. Titanic musicals are popular too from news reports I have been reading. Titanic: The Musical performing at the Harrisburg Christian Performing Arts Center in Middletown, PA has got some very good reviews.

Source:  ‘Titanic the Musical’ staged at Harrisburg Christian Performing Arts Center(16 Jul 2013, Patriot-News)

5. Back in the 1980’s The Bangles were a hot group with four talented female singers. Some of their more popular songs were Manic Monday, Walk Like An Egyptian, Going Down To Liverpool, Hero Takes A Fall, and Eternal Flame. They broke up in the early 1990’s but reunited again around the start of the new century. A recent album Sweetheart of the Sun brings them back to their roots. Their talent has not dimmed over the years and are strong as ever. Susanna Hoffs (incorrectly called the lead singer even though everyone sang in their albums) has some excellent solo work as well. Her album Someday is well worth listening too. Some people wondered if she was any good outside of The Bangles and this album ought to settle any doubts. She is undeniably talented and the range of songs prove it. One song, Picture Me, is a video on Vevo (and can be seen on YouTube).