(photo credit: REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov)
The Basher restaurant in Jerusalem has received kosher certification from the Jerusalem Rabbinate, two and a half months after the rabbinate raised concerns about kashrut practices at the establishment.
The two popular Basher cheese stores in the capital are still currently without kashrut certification from the rabbinate, but the owners are in a process with the Jerusalem Rabbinate to gain kosher certification for them as well.
An official within the Jerusalem Rabbinate said that during the process of kashrut certification for the restaurant, located on Agrippas Street close to Mahaneh Yehuda, officials responsible for kashrut in the capital clarified that the restaurant and cheese stores are separate businesses and that the restaurant is not required to buy goods from the stores.
The rabbinate-provided Basher restaurant with a list of approved products, and the establishment, a bistro bar, now has regular inspection by an authorized kashrut inspector.
Back in January, the rabbinate’s fraud unit conducted on-the spot inspections with a court-authorized warrant of the restaurant and the cheese store in the market due to suspicions regarding kashrut practices at the site.
The restaurant was displaying a kashrut certificate from an unauthorized kashrut licensing organization while investigators said they found evidence that stickers bearing the logo of a kashrut licensing authority in France had been applied in the store and not at source, raising the suspicion that unauthorized cheeses were being certified as kosher.
Restaurant owner Eli Basher insisted however that all cheeses sold in the stores have, and always had, some form of kashrut certification “of differing levels,” and denied any wrongdoing.
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He acknowledged that the Chief Rabbinate does not recognize the French kashrut authority, which gives kosher certification to some of the European cheeses sold in the store, but said that the decision to rely on this certification should be made by the customer.
“The Basher chain is very happy that the Basher restaurant now has kashrut certification from the Jerusalem Rabbinate,” Eli Basher told The Jerusalem Post.
“Basher does everything to bring the best cheeses in the world to Israel,” he continued, and expressed hope that the cheese stores would soon be authorized by the Jerusalem Rabbinate as well.
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