Monday, May 19, 2008

Rabbi to open NZ's first kosher restaurant

The New York-based Chabad-Lubavitch sect of Hasidic Judaism – one of the largest Jewish movements worldwide – plans to set up a kosher restaurant in Christchurch.

The Chabad's rabbi in New Zealand, Mendel Goldstein, of Wellington, told the Jewish Telegraph Agency that the restaurant will be open by the end of the year at the group's premises in Christchurch.

He viewed the restaurant as a first step in building a future for New Zealand where "Jewish living is convenient and enjoyable" for travellers and the local Jewish population.

"It pains us to see people eating non-kosher because they have no other choice," the rabbi's wife, Sara Goldstein, co-director of the Chabad in NZ said.

The agency reported that about 20,000 Jews visit Christchurch each year, and that there is a population of about 10,000 Jews spread through New Zealand.

The restaurant will serve food prepared according to a set of often complicated rabbinical and biblical dietary laws which ban some foods such as pork or shellfish; do not allow meat and dairy products to be prepared in the same dishes, and require animals to be slaughtered on their backs, without stunning.

Rabbi Goldstein was arranging four ritual "seder" feasts for 500 Israeli travellers in New Zealand last month to mark Passover, when he rushed to Queenstown to join the search for Israeli backpacker Liat Okin. She was found dead last week.

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