8 Cheshvan 5773
As promised, I visited the shwarma store located in the Old City of the capital, at 5 Beit El Street. I met with owner Yaron Sheetrit, a young man in his 30s. I spent about two hours speaking with Yaron, and I feel compelled to mention how impressed I was by this young man’s integrity and commitment to running his store in accordance to Halacha. I do not attest to being an expert in judging people, but this young man shines, truly an exception.
He decided after two years of operating under the Jerusalem Rabbinate mehadrin that he did not have to continue paying for the service and enlisted his rav, Rabbi Chaim Shapira of Baka to assume the role of mashgiach. The rav agreed and he visits the shop daily as the two learn together at the store. The rav runs a small kollel in their shul, Heichal Baruch, located at 16 Yehuda Street in Baka.
The kitchen of the store, which is quite small, was opened to me as was the entire store. I was shown receipts and delivery slips to back up Yaron’s claims regarding the origin of the products he uses.
All the meats and poultry are the shechitah of Rabbi Mutsafi. The other products, including the salads (humus, techina and so-forth), chopped salads, pitot, falafel balls, spices, soft drinks, lemonade in a dispenser are one of the Israeli “badatzim” including Rav Landau, Eida Chareidit, Beit Yosef, Belz and Badatz Mehadrin (Rabbi Rubin). Only Jews are employed in the store, simplifying matters somewhat. Yaron is shomer shabbat although not all workers are. He also does not sell livers or hearts, eliminating concerns surrounding the preparation of these items. There is no ‘linat laila’ (לינת לילה) as the peeled onions come coated with oil, which satisfies this according to some poskim. Those greens requiring washing are washed as well.
For whatever reason, he has a separate fryer for falafel balls so they are indeed parve, until you bring them to the front and mix them with the other components, turning them to ‘chezkas basari’ but that is the way he like to do it. The chips are fried in the oil used for the poultry so no parve option there.
The store is quite small, modest in size and the operation relatively simple from a kashrus restaurant point of view. This young man is somewhat of a surprise, and if you meet him and speak with him this will become evident early on in a conversation for other than his wife and children, his passion surrounds the shul in which he serves as a gabbai, and his kiruv work, some of which surrounds his store.
The store closes down at 16:00, at which time he hosts a mincha minyan and he works hard to find the young folk he believes may not daven otherwise. The store is closed on Fridays in the winter as well as motzei shabbos, as Yaron explains there is too much to do surrounding shabbos, so he cannot be in the store. He does not want to ruin his shabbos afternoon worrying about running to the store after havdola.
For me, I say the store seems in order and if the standard detailed above works for you along with the hashgacha of Rabbi Shapira, then your set.
A final note: At my behest, he changed his teudah since I explained the other one was too similar to the Jerusalem Rabbinate mehadrin and some people may not notice it is not. He apologized and agreed, and made the change. I was hoping for something that differed more, but the photo below is the new one which at least does not have the same fonts as the Jerusalem Rabbinate mehadrin as the first one did.