Religion Magazine

Vegan Restaurant Goes Kosher, Draws Ire of Customers

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
There is always a debate if vegan restaurants need a hechsher or if they are kosher with the concerned consumer needing to be aware of certain issues, such as bugs in vegetables and vinegar to avoid. 
There was a vegan restaurant in Jerusalem that has been functioning for years without a hechsher. They have now decided to get a hechsher and become officially kosher.
When Shawarma Tzimchonit made the announcement that it is now kosher under Rabbanut supervision, it largely went by uneventfully. Several days later a secular forum against kosher restaurants took up the cause and pronounced a fight against this restaurant's move to kashrut. Many angry diners joined the opposition to the restaurant despite having enjoyed the restaurant and/or its style as a vegan restaurant. They are calling on the public to not eat in this restaurant. 
The owner of the restaurant himself explained, in an interview with Kikar, that he made the switch because it is Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv with a mostly more traditional customer base and with the ingredients all being kosher anyway, it made sense to take at least minimal kashrut supervision.
The owner also suggests that those opposing him are probably not all customers and many are likely not vegans, just people who oppose the Rabbanut and hate religion. He says people who eat kosher ate by him before, as everything was technically kosher anyway, and he just didn't get kashrut earlier because he could not afford it when he started out. he says they just target businesses and scare them away from going kosher with the Rabbanut thinking they will take a big business hit by doing so.
Just as I have said in the opposite direction, when kosher restaurants decide to forgo their hechsher, the mass movement of people banning his restaurant will last for a short while -a few weeks at most. After that, except for the hardcore anti-kashrut activists, most people will go back to their routines. Having the hechsher in Jerusalem will likely bring in a lot of business and surely it will offset the loss of the anti-Rabbanut customers. 
the difficulty in running  a successful restaurant, especially nowadays will all the CoronaVirus issues, is likely to be difficult enough so that this issue is probably among the more minor of issues affecting his business. I hope he is successful, just as I hope all business owners are successful, and that the idealistic protesters won't really affect him. If you don't like his restaurant, don't eat there. There are plenty of others. If you do, give it a try even though he went kosher. I am pretty confident he doesn't have horns, and neither does his food. 
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