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Aug 20, 2013

Rabbanut Jerusalem offers new level of kashrut - Mehuderet

The Rabbanut of Jerusalem just added a new level of kashrut supervision to its options. Weirdly enough it is very difficult to find information and details about the matter. Both the Rabbanut and the Rabbanut Jerusalem websites are useless in such matters, and the news sites do not give enough details.

If you thought it was tough to know in which restaurants you could eat, which certificates were ok and which were fake, which level is appropriate for you, this new one is probably going to make it even more confusing, as the differences are not really clear.

Here are the details I have seen so far:
from JKN

The Rabbanut of Jerusalem has added a level of certification and supervision called "Kashrut Mehuderet", and it is situated in between the "regular kosher" level and the "kashrut mehadrin min hamehadrin" level.

The idea of Mehuderet seems to be a level of kashrut somewhat better (i.e. more stringent) than regular kashrut, but not as stringent as mehadrin. According to Ladaat, the reason for this new level is that with Jerusalem being such a toursty city, many people come to Jerusalem and do not require the top level of kashrut but do not want to rely on the regular level. It seems that many mashgichim were bringing back requests from customers that wanted improved kashrut levels but don't need things to be similar to the Eida - such as, they want the food to be cooked by a Jew (regular Rabbanut only requires a Jew to light the fire, even though for Sefardim it is technically not enough).

This new level is only being offered to meat restaurants. Dairy, for now, is being perceived as less of an issue because people are generally not as strict regarding their requirements for dairy restaurants.

It seems that the change is really largely expressing things that are already facts on the ground into a clearer certificate of kashrut. Meaning, many "regular kosher" restaurants have a non-Jew cooking with a Jew lighting the fire. Plenty, however, are stricter (for whatever reason) and only have a Jew doing the cooking. Yet the certificate just says "regular kosher", so the consumer does not know. With the new level, a restaurant that has a Jew cooking, will get the kashrut mehuderet instead of "regular kosher".

Another difference seems to be what products they use. Rabbanut Mehadrin only uses meat from Rabbanut Yerushalayim Mehadrin, or from a small list of other approved organizations (e.g. She'airis and Kehillos), while "Mehuderet" will not limit the sources of meat in that way. Also, Mehadrin restaurants can only use products, not just meat, approved by a limited set of Badatz organizations, while Mehuderet will not be limited in that way.

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