April 14, 2024
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Kosher Suits Top the List of ‘Must Have’ Chumra Purchases

Witty comebacks aside, the latest in kosher trends gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “I’ll eat my hat.” As clothing manufacturers look to find the latest edge in order to appeal to their Orthodox shoppers, well-known suit designers have started advertising their “kosher suits.” But what makes a suit kosher? The Jewish Link went behind the scenes to learn the why and the how of this latest trend.

“If people have felt the need to consume Tide Pods, then we have to assume they may want to taste their clothing, too. The pods may be poisonous, but at least they have an OU,” said one certifying rabbi, explaining the OU’s decision to put a hechsher on clothing.

The process to make a suit kosher follows a careful process, and clothing makers appear just as concerned about kashrut as they are about fashion. “The first step in making sure anything is kosher is to ensure it is free of bugs, and this holds true for suits,” said their rabbinic authority, known colloquially as the Suit Rabbi. He explained that bugs are drawn to the wool of sheep much more than they are to synthetic fibers, requiring a much more stringent process for high-quality men’s suits. “People would be horrified to see the bugs lurking in their suits,” he said. “There’s more bug DNA in here than dinosaur DNA in amber,” the Suit Rabbi explained as he held the fibers up under a microscope for inspection.

The next step in this stringent process is to wash the wool. But as is the case with leafy vegetables, rinsing alone is not enough. The Suit Rabbi has created a concoction of soap that changes the pH of the water to allow the bugs to slip out of the wool. After washing out the shampoo, another rinsing is done and the runoff water is inspected for bugs. If after three shampoos bugs are still found in the runoff, the wool is considered to be infested and must be discarded.

If the wool passes the clean test, it is then taken to a giant lightbox where it is inspected through a large magnifying glass. The few leftover bugs are pulled out and then the wool is ready to move on to the regular weaving process.

“We are so proud of the streamlined and efficient process we have devised for our customers,” said one manufacturer. This process brings the highest levels in kashrut and fashion to everyone. Be sure to check for appropriate certification on suits when shopping. For any questions, consult your local Orthodox rabbi.

By Jenny Gans

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