Color-Coded Scouring Pads and Jewish Dietary Laws

From Our Holdings

This package of three scouring pads from the United States promises "No more 'kitchen confusion!'" Jewish dietary law (kashrut in Hebrew) distinguishes between permitted and forbidden foods. Foods that may be eaten are called "kosher."


Most of the kashrut rules are contained in the Torah, or the Hebrew Bible, and one of the most important forbids Jews to eat meat and milk products at the same time. In a traditional religious household, meat is therefore never served in a cream sauce, and butter may not be used to fry meat.

Color-Coded System for Separating Dishes

Jews are also required to separate the utensils that come into contact with food. This means that they must always have two sets of dishes, pots, silverware, frying pans, towels, and scouring pads. To ensure that nothing gets mixed up, the utensils are usually color-coded or marked with stickers or tags. The blue pad is meant for dishes used for milk, the red for utensils for meat, and the green for dishes that come into contact with food containing neither meat nor milk. These neutral types of food – fruit, vegetables, and also certain types of fish – are called "pareve."

Convenient Aids from the US and Israel

If religious Jews in Germany want to buy products for a kosher household, they must order them from stores in the United States and Israel, which ship all the necessary items worldwide.

Three color-coded scrubbing brushes in their packaging

Scrubbing brushes by Mark-It International, New Jersey; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Jens Ziehe

The term "kosher" is usually used in connection with Jewish dietary laws, which are also called kashrut. A kosher food is permitted, while a treif food is forbidden.
Title Scouring Pads
Manufacturer Mark-It International, New Jersey
Collection Judaica
Location and year of origin USA, 1986–2000
Medium Plastic
Dimensions 25 x 12,6 x 6 cm
Selected Objects (6) Judaica Collection Show all

Judaica Collection

Our collection of ceremonial objects ranges widely from a valuable eighteenth-century Torah curtain donated by Formet and Moses Mendelssohn to contemporary ritual items to small kitchen supplies for following Jewish dietary laws.

Hanukkah Toys

Traditionally, the Jewish festival of lights doesn’t involve presents. But like Christmas, Hanukkah too is increasingly commercialized, and there is already color-coded gift wrap in the US.

Purim Costume

This costume of the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon, should have been a top seller for Purim. But then a tragic accident occurred.

Seder Plate by Harriete Estel Berman

What is unusual about this contemporary seder plate is its additional recess for an orange, marking a new custom which has found growing popularity among feminists in recent decades.

Scouring Pads

“No more kitchen confusion!” Three color-coded scrub brushes from the US make it easier to keep track of Jewish dietary rules.

Torah Ornaments by Kurt Matzdorf

The artist Kurt J. Matzdorf is known for his modern interpretations. Alongside the classic materials of silver and gold, he used colored acrylic for his Judaica.

Torah Curtain Donated by the Mendelssohns

Moses and Fromet Mendelssohn commissioned a Torah curtain, probably using the fabric from Fromet's wedding dress, and donated it to a synagogue in Berlin in 1774–75.


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