Red Heifer Restaurant (Jerusalem)

Red Heifer Restaurant
38 King George Street – Jerusalem
OU Mehadrin -Israel

red-heifer-sign-1The Red Heifer, or Para Aduma, as it is known in Jerusalem, has been a popular place for visitors for many years. Actually, it was the first restaurant to obtain an OU hechsher in Israel. It began under the supervision of the Jerusalem Rabbinate Mehadrin, but for the past years, has been operating under the OU.

Yosef Wuensch

Yosef Wuensch

Yosef Wuensch, the owner, is no stranger to the restaurant business. Actually, he is also an owner-partner in the Wolf & Lamb Restaurant located at 10 E. 48th Street in Manhattan, operating under the OK.

Anyway, we are here to speak about Jerusalem, as I will do in this article. I arrived at Red Heifer on a Thursday night (Sept. 3, 2009), at about 8:30pm. Yosef gave me the tour, the dining areas, kitchen, storage facilities and the outer garden, which does indeed provide quite the ambiance for a night out.

Let’s get down to business. Beef is from Hacker, a reputable distributer based in Jerusalem. The hechsherim used include Sheirit Yisrael, R’ Rubin, R’ Landau. Chickens are generally Sheirit Yisrael, and sometimes Sheirit with R’ Neuwirth, and sometimes Eida Chareidit and other higher-end chareidi mehadrin hechsherim.

Vegetables are Rabbanut mehadrin. During shmitah year, Eida Chareidit produce was used. Dry goods are mehadrin hechsherim. Wine is by and large not mevushal, permitting a higher quality product. The wine is generally sold in small and large bottles, although one type is sold by the glass. Whatever the case — sealed bottles or glasses are only handled by a mashgiach, no exceptions.

As far as the mashgichim, they are present all the time – permit me to explain. The owner, Yosef, is shomer shabbat, as is the chef, Ariel Gordetsky. The main mashgiach is Moshe Sheiner. For those of you who remember the legendary Sheiner’s Restaurant in Givat Shaul, yes it is him.

red-heifer-ou-certificateFor an added measure, Ariel and R’ Sheiner were both interviewed by Rav Mordechai Kuber during his tenure as the head of OU Israel according to Yosef. Rav Kuber approved them after questioning them on pertinent halachot Yosef explained, so they are working mashgichim, cooking, tending to clients and maintaining kashrus at the same time. There is also R’ Moshe Harush, the mashgiach to ‘comes and goes’, usually about 3-4 hours a day, so in short, the place is well covered, by working-mashgichim, shomer shabbat staff, and the actual mashgichim.

I will add that during the time Yosef and I spoke, one thing became very clear – this young former American is serious about kashrus, no games, and he is willing to take the extra step to enhance the level to ensure clients are indeed provided with a quality food without comprising kashrut standards.

While I was outside speaking with Yosef, R’ Avraham Turetzky arrived on the scene. He is a mefakaiach (supervisor) for the mashgichim of the OU. He came to check up on things, unannounced, as it should be. We took advantage of the situation and the rabbi, Yosef and I toasted the upcoming New Year. Not to panic, we used water with a slice of lemon – wishing one another a Shana Tova.

shofarOn this upbeat note I conclude my report on the Red Heifer, wishing you all a Shana Tova, and looking forward to seeing all you N. Americans, Europeans, Australians and many many others who have become loyal readers of JKN. I hope you will be coming for Sukkot, to celebrate the yomtov with us in the Holy Land.

A Word on OU Establishments in Israel
It appears Rabbi Luban’s response and recent attention to the OU on the JKN website has generated interest.

I find that I am once again the recipient of a growing number of requests for an updated list of OU supervised eateries in Israel. If and when I receive such a list from an official OU source, it will be my pleasure to pass it on to readers.

For now, you may contact the OU office in Israel at 02-560-9122.

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