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Redditor Stunned After New Jewish Roommate Expects Them To Use Kosher Food In Shared Kitchen

Two men arguing
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Those of us who have lived with a platonic roommate can testify to how tough it can be to coexist with them, especially when we share some different schedules and beliefs.

But there are some traits that are simply incompatible when placed under the same roof, cautioned the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITAH) subReddit.

Redditor WonkWolf was in need of a room, so when their future Jewish roommate told them that they would to keep a kosher kitchen but that it wasn’t a big deal, they decided to go for it.

But when they discovered all that it would actually entail, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure how long this living situation could last.

They asked the sub:

“AITAH for not agreeing with my roommate to convert to a kosher kitchen?”

The OP was in the middle of a serious argument with their roommate.

“My Jewish roommate is telling me I’m not allowed to use the oven for my food in the apartment we BOTH pay for. He’s calling me unreasonable for being upset and feeling disrespected because of it.”

“But the apartment CAME WITH the oven. It’s not his personal oven. I’m contributing to the rent. I’m paying to access the kitchen.”

The OP didn’t realize what they were signing up for when they agreed to a kosher kitchen.

“A lot of people don’t seem to understand that some Jewish people will only eat kosher and there are special rules to that. I sure didn’t!”

“I’m not Jewish. I respect the religion, but it’s causing issues.”

“I did ask questions. Lots of them. But I didn’t truly understand that he meant I’d have to eat kosher as well if I wanted to cook anything, despite not being Jewish. I have to change my whole lifestyle.”

“He explained some things to me upfront… but not how big a change it would be. It’s a literal lifestyle change. I was led to believe it wouldn’t be a big deal. He basically said to just make sure to use certain dishes in certain ways. But there’s so much more…”

The OP felt misled by their roommate.

“Now he’s trying to tell me I’m only allowed to cook kosher food and store kosher food in the kitchen or fridge, as well. He expects me to change my way of life for his religion, which i believe is disrespectful to me.”

“Supporting someone’s religion does not mean allowing it to dictate your own life. That’s called religious oppression. Just because I’m not Jewish doesn’t mean I’m antisemitic.”

“AITAH for feeling it’s unfair that I can’t use what I am also paying for?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some understood the OP’s frustrations and found their roommate to be unreasonable.

“NTA. I had something similar happen to me in college.”

“One freshman conservative Jewish woman vs three non-Jewish women all fighting over the kitchen. We ended up getting the university rabbi to come meditate and he was 100% on our side that a conservative jew can’t expect their roommates to keep kosher and that there were ethical, acceptable ways for her to keep kosher with some reasonable accommodations on our end.”

“I highly recommend reaching out to a local Rabbi and asking for outside leadership. Your roommate has probably never lived with a non-Jew before or if they have, never had a conversation with their Rabbi and browbeat past roommates.”

“Seriously, get a Rabbi. If this isn’t resolved over one afternoon meeting I’d be shocked… Good luck and remember most roommates have weird quirks. Even the good ones. Kosher roommates at least keep the kitchen clean, which is more than you can say for the average.” – thinksying

“I lived with a Pakistani roommate who was offended when I drank. I pointed out to him that I was vegan but I didn’t mind that he ate meat.”

“A lightbulb went off in his head.”

“And eventually, he started drinking too, lol (laughing out loud).”

“If the roommate wants to live with the OP, he needs to understand that the OP has needs, too, and they’ll need to figure out some compromises to make this work.” – brown_burrito

“You going kosher is not his decision to make. Tell him it’s unreasonable and unfair, and you can’t go along with it. Assuming you’re not doing anything out of the ordinary and his worry is that he’s observant in his faith around food, he’s free to buy his own personal equipment that he can keep in his room. NTA.” – Sea-Still5427

“Unless you agreed prior to moving in that you would be kosher in the apartment, NTA.”

“Honestly, this is going to be an ongoing issue. I’m assuming that your roommate hasn’t lived with many other people before, and so maybe they thought being kosher or requesting others to be kosher wouldn’t be a big ask.”

“You need a new roommate. Sit down together and have that conversation, that you aren’t going to eat kosher and it is unreasonable to demand that you do. One of you needs to move out.” – aries_inspired

“I grew up in a strict house where this was true. However, when I went to college, I didn’t have that kind of choice when it came to roommates as it was a lottery system and I wanted to stay in the dorms with the other freshmen, NOT in the Rabbi’s house.”

“There actually is a very simple solution that my Lubavich Chabad Rabbi proposed. Either I could Kasher (ritually cleanse) the oven and as my roommate to double wrap their food in tinfoil when baking in the oven, or, the oven could remain ‘unKashered’ and I could double wrap my food in foil when using the oven.”

“This is a very common practice in the religious community, especially in Kosher house where they don’t have a second oven, but still want the flexibility to cook meat or dairy without having to Kasher (spiritually cleanse) the oven between each use, which is a long and arduous process, especially in the summer.”

“As for the stovetop, my roommate and I had separate pots and pans, so there was no issue.”

“Source: I grew up in a very religious Orthodox and Chabad community. This is what people did when they stayed at vacation houses and didn’t want to Kasher (spiritually cleanse) the oven at the place they were staying. Or if they only had one oven in the house.”

“The rabbis advocated for this practice and said that it was perfectly fine to do. The double layer protects any cross-contamination, and it works when you have Kashered your kitchen before Pesach (Passover) but still need to cook Chametz (items prohibited during Pesach).” – Random_Spaztic

Others thought the roommate needed to live with someone with matching beliefs.

“I know in some of the stricter groups, they do have doubles of everything since they can’t have meat and dairy together. There are a whole bunch of rules to follow besides food.”

“I don’t see how if he was part of one of those groups, he would share an apartment with someone not the same religion. You both pay to live there and buy your own food. He has no say in who uses anything in the shared spaces.”

“He’s using religion as an excuse to be an AH. He should leave or buy his own appliances.” – AtomicFox84

“I’d hate to live having to keep all those restrictions in mind, but then I realized OP’s roommate didn’t keep them in mind when choosing a roommate, either. Pretty ironic of him.” – 50CentButInNickels

“Wild someone with such tight religious dietary restrictions wouldn’t obviously find a kosher flatmate. Who in the world would be okay with this?? And I’m a (secular, non-kosher) Jew. I’d lose it.” – seriouslydavka

“In Israel, when searching for flatmates, it’s always on the list of things to check that you’re compatible, like smoking. I could never live with someone who kept strict kosher rules.”

“OP’s roommate is just being a d**k about it. And he was also a d**k for not pointing out his restrictions when signing up to live with another person.”

“If the OP decides to try to make this work, they will have a LOT of work ahead of them to truly keep kosher. But if they decide not to stay, that really isn’t on them. The OP’s future ex-roommate needs to understand that they need to be very upfront about their needs in the home and how much that will actually entail if the other person wasn’t keeping kosher before.” – neuser_

“I’ve known a few young people from strict religious backgrounds who wavered in and out of strict observance in their younger years. A lot of unintentional hypocrisy, demands on other people, anger, and discomfort come with them trying to find which life they’re going to have.”

“They don’t want the isolation that comes with orthodox practices (in my opinion, it’s a big part of why religions have strict practices, to keep observers isolated to the community), or the difficulty, they venture into other communities more and try on different beliefs.”

“But deep down, they feel guilt and fear and revert back repeatedly until eventually they either return to their community, a strict adherent, or they slowly gain community and beliefs and find a new balance.” – Elimaris

After receiving feedback, the OP shared some updates.

“Thanks for all the advice, whether it’s positive or telling me to get revenge by cooking bacon…”

“I’ve decided to suggest we go to a rabbi and talk to him. I’m not trying to be antisemitic here. But I also don’t want his beliefs forced on me.”

“For further clarification… I was led to believe that the change would be small and easy. I can respect using different plates for different things. Nobody told me I wouldn’t be allowed to use the oven or the refrigerator.”

“And for those of you telling me I didn’t do my research, I shouldn’t have to become a theologian to rent a room. Instead, I think the roommate should be honest and upfront and not misrepresent something that alters your whole way of life as a minor change.”

“We had a huge fight about it yesterday. I stood up for myself and told him he doesn’t get to use his religion to control me.”

The subReddit honestly wasn’t sure what the way forward was for the OP and their roommate, but clearly, if the roommate wanted to have a roommate, he needed to be much more honest and upfront about his needs before inviting someone else to live with him.

Expecting someone else to keep kosher when they have never done that before is a lot to ask, especially when it’s something they wouldn’t be interested in doing on their own.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.