A kashrut controversy – for one day

Two veteran Jerusalem eateries lose and regain certification right after Passover

Caffit on Emek Refaim Street: Back in (kosher) business (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Caffit on Emek Refaim Street: Back in (kosher) business
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
In a surprising move to many Jerusalemites, two eateries in the south of the city summarily lost their kosher certification right after Passover. But within a day, both Caffit on Emek Refaim and Roladin in the Hadar Mall had their certifications returned by the Jerusalem Rabbinate.
According to a letter from the rabbinate dated April 19, the original branch of Caffit, a popular spot which has been around for 30 years, had its kashrut certificate revoked until further notice.
The letter said the decision was made “due to workers entering [the restaurant] two hours before the holiday [Passover] ended, and beginning to work with hametz without even putting away the Passover dishes.”
But in a letter dated April 20, the rabbinate reversed the decision “following a hearing with the chief rabbis of Jerusalem” – Rabbi Arye Stern and Rabbi Shlomo Amar – and the restaurants’ owners.
The letter, which was widely shared via WhatsApp and on Facebook groups, added that the owners “agreed to the instructions of the rabbinate” and that the chief rabbis “see trust in the business owners as an important ingredient in keeping kosher.”
The Roladin branch in question was cited in an April 19 letter as having its certification revoked for “repeated violations that occurred on Passover.”
The letter also noted problematic interactions between the owner and the mashgiah, the local kashrut supervisor, including the owner himself ripping up the certification during an argument.
Avinoam Kutscher, a spokesman for chief rabbi Stern, told In Jerusalem that both locations had kashrut violations over Passover, which the restaurants did not deny.
“People saw them doing it, people saw them going in and out bringing” dishes or ingredients they weren’t meant to be using, he said. But during the hearing, the rabbinate “took measures that this will not happen again, and returned to them the certification.” Kutscher added that both locations will now have stricter oversight, including more frequent visits from a kashrut supervisor.
The owners of Caffit declined to respond to a request for comment.
Caffit originally opened on Emek Refaim in the 1990s, and since has spread out to seven branches across the country. Roladin has 64 bakery locations around the country, many of which are also cafes. Certification for all locations is always on an individual basis, not chain-wide.