Yadidya Greenberg is a certified shochet (kosher slaughterer), animal welfare educator and blogger. He has given live kosher slaughter and animal welfare presentations at The Portland Meat Collective, Urban Adamah of Berkley and the Hazon Rocky Mountain Food Festival just to name a few. Yadidya will also be featured in the upcoming documentary “Farm and Red Moon”. He has been an active member of the Colorado Hazon community and is slowly making headways onto the national stage. After making this video he teamed up with Director of Hazon Denver, Sarah Kornhauser, to write up this short interview which gives a bit more information on the video, Yadidya, and his message.
(JTA) — Diaspora Jews often find themselves exasperated with the Israeli rabbinate. But on one significant issue, an Israeli rabbinic authority is looking far more enlightened and merciful than his peers in the United States.
Recently elected Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau surprised more than a few people last week when he reportedly threatened to terminate the kosher certification of a slaughterhouse belonging to Soglowek, one of Israel’s largest meat producers.
Lau issued the warning after an undercover investigation produced video footage showing routine and egregious abuses of chickens and turkeys at a Soglowek slaughterhouse in northern Israel. The graphic video, aired on national television in Israel, showed chickens packed in filthy cages without food or water, writhing turkeys tossed into metal boxes with their throats cut, and several other forms of cruelty.
“As a human being and as a Jew, I was shocked by the footage, by the brutal behavior of those employees toward helpless animals,” said Lau, according to Israel’s Ynet website. “Such things shouldn’t happen. The Torah forbids us to act in this way and obliges us to be extra vigilant with regard to animal welfare. We cannot remain silent in the face of such things. We will act firmly and sternly against this factory.”
Lau summoned Soglowek officials to a meeting and urged all slaughterhouses nationwide to take additional steps to avoid abuses. The Soglowek slaughterhouse was shut down temporarily by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
How much is a kosher website worth? Apparently, half a million dollars. Kosher.com sold earlier this week for that full sticker price.
But wait: It wasn’t owned before? Well, it was, but brace yourself for the actual shocking part: There is no website present at kosher.com. Navigating to kosher.com takes a netizen to a blank, generic search side. This is pretty surprising, given that the kosher food industry is a $12.5 billion per year business (yes, billion, with a “b”).
The site was previously owned by Rosalind Davidowitz of Lawrence, NY and is in the hands of Los Angeles lawyer Eli Perlman. Perlman’s client — an unnamed company — purchased the site and plans to lease it out. (Sadly, Perlman isn’t interested in sharing any more details).
Other domain names that are surprisingly unpopulated include kosherfood.com, Jew.com, and Hannukkah.com. Sadly, thanksgivukkah.com has already been claimed.
Jewish.com looks to have the makings of a site, but is actually nothing more than an a depository of ads for “Jewish Jewelry,” how to pick Jewish names, and where to find the best Jewish dating websites.
Israel.com is also, shockingly, a very simple blog site with aggregations of Israel-related news from around the Web.
RoshHashanah.com is another that doesn’t exist, and YomKippur.com redirects to a sub-site of Shabbat.com, a social network for connected Jews who are looking to spend Shabbat with someone.
So there you have it, web entrepreneurs! A whole host of Jew-related domain names, just ripe for the taking.
There are few Jews living in the South Pacific island nation of Fiji, aside from a small Jewish community in the capital city of Suva who are mostly descendants of Australian merchants who arrived in the 1880s. One of them is Ofir Yudilevich, executive chef at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa on the main island of Viti Levu. Responsible for four restaurants, catering and room service for an average of 3,000 guest and staff meals a day, Yudilevich has come a long way from his family’s restaurant in New Zealand.
Born in Israel in 1974, Yudilevich grew up in Rehovot, south of Tel Aviv, but moved to Auckland, New Zealand after his bar mitzvah, when his parents divorced and his father was remarried, to a Kiwi. (His mother and sister remained in Israel.) Yudilevich Sr., an Israeli army vet who became a property developer and restaurateur, opened New Zealand’s first Israeli, kosher-style restaurant, Le Haim (kosher certification wasn’t available). The menu, including falafel, shawarma, Grandma’s potato latkes and over 30 salads, was a hit with the Jewish community.
RECIPE: Fiji-Style Pickled Fish
It was also a training ground for Ofir Yudilevich.
“It hooked me on the love of food and working in a kitchen, and I have not looked back since,” he says. With that experience under his belt, he worked at Sheraton Auckland and the chain’s hotels in Sydney, Bangkok, and Tel Aviv. Moving up in the culinary ranks, he spent a year at the Ivy in London. Now he gets to feed visitors to paradise, a dream job if there was one.
Gerri Miller: How does an Israeli-born New Zealander wind up in Fiji?
Ofir Yudilevich: I came here by accident last October. I had finished (a job) in Cebu, the Philippines, and was taking a year’s sabbatical. I became a dive instructor there. The chef happened to resign on the same day, so it was meant to be.
WASHINGTON — Eli’s Restaurant, a popular kosher eatery in Washington D.C., frequented by politicians, lobbyists and government workers, may have a date with the wrecking ball.
According to a petition being circulated on Change.org, its “current storefront will be demolished as part of a redevelopment plan.”
The petition, which had 100 signatures as of Tuesday, wants the owners to know “how important it is that they find a new location in DC and continue to serve the downtown Jewish community.”
The restaurant has been serving corned beef sandwiches, hamburgers and soups at its location near DuPont Circle, at the southeast corner of the intersection of N and 20th streets, NW, since 2004.
Efforts to speak with the restaurant’s management were unsuccessful.
At least one other kosher eatery is open in downtown Washington — in the local JCC.
For Israeli-American chef Michael Solomonov, this weekend’s dinner in an Israeli park had been in the making for 10 years – ever since his younger brother David was killed on duty in the Israel Defense Forces.
Michael Solomonov, the owner of Zahav, an award-winning Israeli style restaurant in Philadelphia, was just launching his culinary career when David Solomonov was killed by a sniper just days before he was scheduled to complete his military service. His brother’s death is one of the main factors that pushed him to focus on Israeli food, he says.
A picture of his brother hangs in the room of Michael Solomonov’s 2-year-old son, also named David. The father and son say “good-bye to Uncle David” every time they leave the room, the chef says.
“That ‘good-bye, Uncle David’ thing we say every morning, that’s what we’re doing here tonight,” he told the crowd of 120 at the dinner in the Tel Aviv suburb of Kfar Sava.
Solomonov. 35, was born in Israel to a Bulgarian-Israeli father and an American-Israeli mother, and grew up moving between Israel and the United States. He and his brother had lived on different continents in the years prior to David’s death, but they reconnected a month beforehand.
That’s when Solomonov visited Israel for the first time in four years, “and got to sort of rekindle a very meaningful relationship.” He and his brother spent several weeks together, which happened to include a lot of eating.
Then, on Yom Kippur 2003, shortly before David was due to be discharged, he was killed while patrolling on the Lebanese border, near Metulla. A few months later, Solomonov, then sous-chef at Vetri, hosted a dinner for David’s army unit in partnership with his employer, chef Marc Vetri.
The Chief Rabbinate has issued a warning that wine produced by the first Israeli winery to be supervised by the Masorti Movement, as the Conservative Movement is called in Israel, is not kosher.
“The Conservative Movement is forbidden by law to authorize kashrut,” the Rabbinate wrote on the page devoted to kashrut updates on its website. “[These] Products … should not be sold in stores under the supervision of the local rabbinates. Let the public know and be warned.”
A month ago, Haaretz published the story of Rujum, a tiny boutique winery in the southern town of Mitzpeh Ramon that had decided to challenge the Orthodox Rabbinate’s monopoly on kashrut supervision, and specifically, the very strict laws that pertain to winemaking.
Rujum does not claim that its wines are kosher by Orthodox standards; its wines do not bear the kashrut label of the Rabbinate, which is the sole authority recognized in Israel on the matter.
The Masorti Movement requires that all ingredients used in wine be kosher, and most of the commandments specific to produce grown in Israel are observed.
For more go to Haaretz
(JTA) — When the world’s first lab-grown burger taste-tested on Monday, the event seemed full of promise for environmentalists, animal lovers and vegetarians.
Another group that had good reason to be excited? Kosher consumers.
The world’s first in-vitro burger, made using stem cells and soaked in a nutrient broth that might make Upton Sinclair shudder, was triumphantly declared “close to meat” by two taste-testers in London. Five years in the making, the meat patties were essentially an “animal protein cake”, according to one taster.
The burger was created by harvesting stem cells from a portion of cow shoulder muscle that were multiplied in petri dishes to form tiny strips of muscle fiber. About 20,000 of the strips were needed to create the five-ounce burger, which was financed partially by Google founder Sergey Brin and unveiled by Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands.
PETA hailed the event as a “first step” toward humanely producing meat products. A University of Amsterdam study shows that lab-grown meat could significantly reduce the environmental impact of beef production.
A Brooklyn-based kosher-certification agency has created a hullabaloo among Jewish groups by trying to add the word “kosher” to the end of its Internet address.
OK Kosher Certification, a major Orthodox Jewish certification company, in November filed a request with Icann, the Internet’s organizing body, to register “dot-kosher” as a domain name. The company said in its application that it wanted the name to help it “promote kosher food certification in general, and OK Certification and its clients in particular.”
Icann – the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – began accepting requests for generic top-level domains names, or gTLDs, in January 2012. The body is meeting in Duban, South Africa, this week to begin a major expansion of domain names, which are currently limited to country identifiers and 20 others, like “dot-com” and “dot-org.” The meeting may include a decision on who can operate and license dot-kosher Internet addresses.
Five other North American Orthodox Jewish organizations that deal with kosher certification, verifying that food is prepared in accordance with Jewish dietary law, have banded together to oppose OK Kosher’s application, saying the company seeks to profit from a sacred tradition that should not be over-commercialized. Last month, the Orthodox Union Kosher, Star-K Kosher, the Chicago Rabbinical Council, KOF-K Kosher Supervision and the Kashruth Council of Canada sent a strongly-worded letter to Icann urging it not to allow the use of “dot-kosher.”
Icann’s decision is likely to have a significant impact on the kosher certification industry, which the research firm Market Trend estimates is worth $14 to $17 billion.
For more go to Haaretz
Keeping strictly kosher often means making dinner plans in advance — picking a restaurant, price point and neighborhood. There’s little opportunity to wander through the streets on a warm summer evening and pick your dinner locale based on what you feel like eating at that very moment.
But Yelp, the massive peer review site, is helping change that. The site recently launched a series of “heat maps” — essentially maps of cities where a concentration of reviews mention key words like BYOB’s, cocktails and kosher.
So if you’re looking to meander your way to a kosher meal, you might want to follow the Yelp kosher map to Manhattan’s Midtown East, the Upper West Side and or the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn where loads of people are Yelping about kosher dining spots.
While the heat maps cover 14 cities including LA, London and Chicago, the kosher map is only available for New York City at the moment. We’re hoping ones for Miami, LA, Paris and other kosher hubs are coming soon.
Did your favorite kosher restaurant make the map? Tell us in the comments.
We think the name Hakodosh BBQ is fitting for an amazing kosher pop up. But not everyone in the kosher community agrees. Some are fighting to change the name. [Yeah That’s Kosher]
Here’s summer Shabbat dessert that you can make after work — and still impress your guests with. Seven steps to the perfect galette. [Food 52]
Veggie burgers are tricky beasts — they’re often bland and brown. This sweet and smoky beet burger recipe couldn’t be further from those frozen slabs of “grains.” [Food 52]
Lower Manhattan is getting a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf — and it’s kosher to boot! [Yeah That’s Kosher]
Friend of JCarrot Louisa Shafia shares the five essential ingredients you need to make excellent Persian food. [Food 52]
Tnuva, the giant Israeli food company, made headlines this week with an admission that was stunningly candid, if not exactly a revelation.
In documents filed in Jerusalem District Court, Tnuva admitted that the slaughter of farm animals, if exposed to public view, “would horrify most meat-eating consumers.”
It’s one thing for Paul McCartney, the former Beatle, to famously say, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.” McCartney, after all, has become a leading advocate for the compassionate treatment of animals.
But for a supermarket chain, for a business that sells meat, to say something of a similar vein … Well, that’s big news.
Gaza residents craving KFC can order delivery, but with the meals smuggled by underground tunnel, it’s not exactly fast food. [The New York Times]
Lawmakers in Poland may lift a recent ban on kosher slaughter. [Times of Israel]
A Cambridge microbrewery is honoring Sean Collier, the MIT police officer allegedly killed by the Boston bombing suspects, with a new beer. [The Boston Globe]
A new deli in Atlanta, The General Muir, is bringing New York tastes to the South. [Business Insider]
Recipes for apricot-almond coffee cake, strawberry focaccia and spanakopita pie show that your oven loves spring produce, too. [Huffington Post]
Eating food is an exercise in trust. In today’s day and age, where most eaters are extremely disconnected from the process that gets our food from farm to fork, we need to be able to trust our food producers, manufacturers, and cooks that the food is what it says it is, and it does not contain anything that it isn’t supposed to. This trust needs to be present, no matter what food values you hold. If you care about food safety, you want to know that your food doesn’t have any malicious pathogens. If you care about fair trade, you want to know that the food was not produced by people who are enslaved. And if you care about kashrut, you want to know that your food meets all of the requirements of Jewish law.
In “Kosher: Private Regulation in the Age of Industrial Food”, Timothy D. Lytton, a professor at Albany Law School, describes how our current system of kosher supervision, dominated by the “Big Five” agencies (OU, OK, Kof-K, Star-K, and CRC), enables kosher consumers to trust that their food is in fact kosher. Lytton explains that “the American industrial kashrus system includes private certification agencies, industrial food manufacturers, and kosher consumers, who engage in market exchanges with each other and are joined by bonds of trust that, in conjunction with reputational sanctions, maintain reliable kosher certification standards.” Rabbi Harvey Senter, founder of the Kof-K, puts it another way, “kashrus is based on ne’emnus (trustworthiness).” The kosher consumer must have faith that the kosher certifier has their interests and values in mind.
“BISON?!?” I exclaimed to my dad who had just told me to try a new type of burger. I was ten years old, standing in my kitchen, eating what I thought was a typical dinner. I was actually halfway through with the patty when my dad informed me this wasn’t from a typical cow; rather, it was from an animal that I had never heard of. Immediately, I did what any ten-year-old would do, and I ran straight for the garbage. Then, I started crying. I didn’t want to eat strange foods that I had never heard of nor did I want to be tricked into eating something I thought was something else.
Thankfully — and sometimes not so thankfully — my parents trained me to eat everything from a very young age. Whether or not I was fooled, I developed a love for ethnic foods, rare meats, and strange looking vegetables. I was eating brussel sprouts, spinach, and cabbage from a very young age. My family didn’t observe Kosher dietary laws so I ate every kind of meat you can imagine as well. Typical dishes were shrimp scampi, lobster bisque, and pork tenderloin. Peanut butter and jelly? I had my first one during my freshmen year of college after a few of my friends learned I had never tried it before.
Yitzie Katz’s “aha” moment for KosherRestaurantsGPS — a new app tracking 1,600 certified-kosher food establishments — came three years ago in Manhattan’s Garment District.
Parked outside W. 36th St. kosher hangout Jerusalem Café, the software developer noticed his car’s navigation system didn’t recognize the restaurant existed. Worse, he learned, “even if you used a GPS hardware device under the ‘kosher’ setting, not all the places listed were indeed kosher,” he told the Forward in an e-mail. “So I set out to create my own database of reliable kosher places and an app for iPhones and Android devices.”
The result, KosherRestaurantsGPS, has been downloaded more than 60,000 times since its January launch, Katz says. The app, available free from iTunes and the Android Google Play store, includes more than 1,300 locations “with strict kosher certification,” Katz says.
“I work with different rabbis who are in the kashrut business, and they’ve given me a list of those hashgacha [kosher certifications] considered reliable to 95% of the Orthodox community. I consult with them frequently,” Katz said. “But I also tell my users to check the website or call the establishment and confirm the hashgacha because they may have changed and I have not been informed yet, or there’s that 5% chance you don’t hold by a particular hashgacha.”
Kim Kushner, author of the newly published “The Modern Menu,” hadn’t planned on writing a cookbook. It came about as a result of her cooking students’ constantly asking her to compile her recipes, like curried couscous salad, crunchy curry cauliflower with tahini and pomegranate, chicken with pumpkin, figs, and honey, and tequila London broil with mango chutney.
Kushner responded with a kosher cookbook with recipes for simple, flavorful dishes photographed in a stunningly simple, but highly appealing fashion. “The Modern Menu” is about food that highlights fresh ingredients and evokes a sense of home, warmth and hospitality.
This is very much in keeping with Kushner’s approach to cooking, which is greatly influenced by her growing up in her Israeli-Moroccan mother’s kitchen in Montreal. In the introduction to her book, Kushner recalls that her childhood home was always filled with guests for dinner and Shabbat and holiday meals.
This blog post originally appeared on What’s Your Food Worth?
Sue Fishkoff is the editor of j., the Jewish news weekly of Northern California. Previously she has worked as a national correspondent for the JTA Jewish news service, focusing on Jewish identity and culture. Her freelance work has appeared in the New York Times, Huffington Post, Hadassah Magazine, and the London Jewish Chronicle. From 1991-1997, she was a staff writer for the Jerusalem Post, serving as the paper’s New York bureau chief from 1991 to 1994. She is the author of “The Rebbe’s Army: Inside the World of Chabad-Lubavitch” (Schocken Books, 2003) and “Kosher Nation: Why More and More of America’s Food Answers to a Higher Authority” (Schocken, October 2010.)
Recently Fishkoff answered a few questions from Bryant Simon at What’s Your Food Worth.
Here’s a roundup of oenophile-tested, rabbi-approved picks for this year’s Seder table:
The granddaddy of wine publications has picks for all budgets, from a $13 Baron Herzog Zinfandel to a $150 Covenant Cabernet Sauvignon. Look for more options using their online Wine Searcher. [Wine Spectator]
Kosher wines from South Africa and the Pacific Northwest, including a mevushal (pasteurized) selection that can be poured by non-Jews. [The Daily Meal]
It’s all about reds, according to these New York wine professionals. [The Wall Street Journal]
Wine critic Eric Asimov reviews a dozen options (two mevushal) starting at $16. [The New York Times]
A look at five mevushal varieties from Napa Valley’s Hagafen Cellars. [Palate Press]
Maple Leaf Jews are covered with 20 picks under $20. [Canada.com]
A focus on Israeli wines under the Yarden’s umbrella. [The San Francisco Examiner]
Four non-mevushal picks from Israel, Bordeaux and California. [The Wine Cellar Insider]
Recommended bottles from $9 and up. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
This post originally appeared on the blog What Is Your Food Worth?
Timothy D. Lytton is the Albert and Angela Farone Distinguished Professor of Law at Albany Law School, where he teaches courses on regulatory theory and administrative law. His book, “Kosher: Private Regulation in the Age of Industrial Food,” has just been published by Harvard University Press. In his book, Lytton argues that the $12 billion a year kosher industry is something of an unheralded story of success of private-sector regulation in an era of growing public concern over the government’s ability to ensure food safety. Kosher uncovers how independent certification agencies rescued American kosher supervision from fraud and corruption and turned it into a model of nongovernmental administration.
Recently Professor Lytton answered a few questions from the What Is Your Food Worth? Project.