December 5, 2011

Poland an Emerging Center of Kosher

New York ... Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michael Shudrich says kosher is once again “alive and well” in a country that was once the center of Jewish life in pre-War Europe. The American trained rabbi recently hosted 200 rabbis of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) that met here for the first time after the Holocaust. Using a designated kosher kitchen at the Marriott, the kosher catering came off with military precision. Despite the small number of observant Jewish families in the Polish capital, the city has two kosher restaurants, largely frequented by the significant number of tourists who visit the country on heritage tours. Shudrich says that a growing number of food companies are looking into kosher certification to take advantage of the large international market for kosher. Poland has also become a source of glatt kosher beef for the Israeli market where a team of Badatz slaughterers and rabbis prepare some 300 tons of beef weekly for export to Israel. Some of the slaughter, says Shudrich, is used for internal use. The Polish government has been an unequivocal supporter of kosher slaughter. Ironically it was the banning of kosher slaughter in Holland that had preoccupied the CER convention. Israel imports large quantities of beef from abroad, including Uruguay and Argentina.