Lalush Bakery/Café (Agrippas Street, Jerusalem)

13 Adar I 5771
February 17, 2011

lalsuh-small-10Located near ‘The Shuk’, Machane Yehuda, a block away is Lalush Bakery/Café (34 Agrippas Street), an establishment with a regular hechsher from the Jerusalem Rabbinate as well as Badatz Beit Yosef.

I met with the mashgiach [for both], Rabbi Yaakov Bulvin, whom I know and we paid Lalush a visit without advanced notice. I happen to run into him in the area, and he was heading there for a check, and I asked if I could tag along.

The visit took place on Tuesday, February 08, 2011, during the late morning hours, as Lalush was in full swing. Following is a brief description of the kashrut realities:

1. Most baked goods arrive ‘oven ready’ and baked off fresh in the Lalush ovens, of course separate ovens for dairy and parve. Actually, the dairy oven is located in a different room, and the defrosting rooms for frozen baked items are also totally separate.

2. The oven trays are literally sterilized daily after use, which not only provides a welcome cleanliness reality, but a good added measure for kashrus too.

3. Unlike most restaurants where the dairy items are marked with a hole, here the parve are marked with a hole. Rav Yaakov explained it was simply easier since most of the items are indeed dairy. Drilling holes into the parve trays involved significantly less work. The main point is that the ‘heker’, the sign to signify the kashrus status is a hole, not paint, which comes off too easily and not acceptable in a commercial kitchen setting according to many veteran kashrus rabbonim.

4. The hechsherim on the pastries and breads run the gamut of ‘badatzim’ including Rav Landau (Bnei Brak), Badatz Machzikei Hadas (Belz), Badatz Chug Chatam Sofer Petach Tikvah (a small amount).

5. Liquid milk is Tara (Badatz Agudat Yisrael) and cheeses are Gad Dairy (Badatz Mehadrin/Rabbi Avraham Rubin).

6. Items are kept apart to preserve the dairy or parve status, and serving tongs used by customers to fill bags and boxes are chained to prevent using dairy or parve for the opposite kosher status item. The dairy items on trays occupy the bottom shelf, and parve items are above.

7. A small amount of the bread comes from Teller, a nearby bakery under the supervision of Jerusalem Rabbinate Mehadrin, where the mashgiach happens to be Rabbi Yaakov as well, so he knows quite well what the story is there too. (I hope to report on Teller in the near future, but no promises). Most of the breads served at Lalush are baked in the café’s own oven.

8. In line with the policy of Badatz Beit Yosef, the standard is bishul yisrael for Sephardim too. The oven has a constant heat source, a spiral heating element not a bulb, indicated by a red light, so despite the fact that all employees are Jewish, there cannot be a ‘bishul yisrael’ problem for Sephardim. The constant heat is an extra safeguard used by the kashrus agency.

The café is open officially from 07:00-19:00, but the seating area closes at 18:00. At 18:00, the day’s goods go on sale for half price.

Rav Bulvin points out teudot hechsherim

Rav Bulvin points out teudot hechsherim

Pointing out the 'always on' oven

Pointing out the 'always on' oven

parve always on top

parve always on top

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8 Comments

  • IsraeliReader
    February 17, 2011 - 09:23 | Permalink

    You wrote:
    “The oven trays are literally sterilized daily after use, which not only provides a welcome cleanliness reality, but a good added measure for kashrus too”.

    I fail to understand how “sterilizing” a baking tray adds to to the kashrus level. We are talking about a “ben-yomo”, for which hag’ala is ineffective. Also, as this is a baking pan; should it really need “kashering”, then “libun” would be the required mode.

  • Amanda
    February 17, 2011 - 09:41 | Permalink

    how does the “constant heat source” oven help with bishul yisrael by sephardim? My understanding of the halacha is that a Jew actually has to put whatever into the oven, not just turn the oven on, according to sephardim.

  • Jerome Bass
    February 17, 2011 - 09:45 | Permalink

    In the article it states:
    The dairy items on trays occupy the bottom shelf, and parve items are below.

    But I think you meant to write “Parve items are ABOVE” as seen in the related picture.

    Thanks for all your dedicated work. Continue in good health BE”H.
    B’hatzlacha
    Jerome Bass

    YECHIEL: Already corrected! Thanks!

  • Chaim
    February 17, 2011 - 10:16 | Permalink

    To IsraeliReader -
    The short answer to your question: טעם לפגם
    (Yechiel please correct me if I’m mistaken)

  • chaim mordche
    February 17, 2011 - 11:32 | Permalink

    Having a hole marking pareve is not so simple from a halachic standpoint. The Rema [Y"D end 89] expressly writes that the minhag is to put holes in the dairy utensils davka.
    the pri megadim (and other poskim) there notes that this minhag is so widespread that if someone would find a utensil in a jewish area in the street with a hole in it – one may assume it is dairy and may be used as such. No one argues with this minhag.
    it is well known that in the Mir yeshiva, with its 6000 talmidim [think of the potential for slip-ups on that scale], the silverware with holes punched in are dairy. as per minhag yisrael.
    therefore it seems to me a bit odd that this bakery would do the exact opposite, and put a hole in the pareve utensils.

  • IsraeliReader
    February 17, 2011 - 16:56 | Permalink

    To Chaim:

    Sterilizing a “בן יומו” is “נותן טעם לשבח”. Where do do you find any allusion to “טעם לפגם” in the sterilization process? IS there any פוגם introduced?

    Also, my main point is that a baking pan needing “kashering” would require “libun” (kal), not “hagala”, making the argument of “טעם לפגם” moot.

  • MPinder
    February 18, 2011 - 08:43 | Permalink

    If we are assuming that only kosher food is used, and just concerned that maybe milk and parev trays got mixed up, since it is היתרא בלע libun is unnecessary and הגעלה is adequate to return the parev status. Even if it is בן יומו, it would now be נ”ט בר נ”ט so it is effectively parev

  • Me
    February 18, 2011 - 09:01 | Permalink

    Amanda, I think it helps with pas yisrael for sephardim, but not bishul.

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