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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

A City Guide to Keeping Everything Kosher

MTA man shopping for kosher wine in a shop located at 45 Trifonovskaya Ulitsa, one of only a handful of kosher stores in Moscow.
The annual season of autumn Jewish holidays may be running out, but for many people, eating kosher is a year-round policy.

And while Moscow is not overrun with places to purchase kosher foods, there are several cafes, supermarkets and butcher shops that will fit the bill.

It's safe to say that it's now more convenient than ever to stay kosher in Moscow. But that doesn't mean it's easy for the man whose job is to check whether the products and their ingredients are kosher.

"Before globalization, all I had to do was go to the factory and check the products and the equipment," said Isaac Livshits, who heads the kashrut department of the rabbinical court of the CIS. "I knew where all the ingredients came from. Now I have to get in touch with food suppliers from all over the world."

He also awards kosher certificates to companies that want to sell food to Israel, Europe or the United States, such as dairy and juice producer Wimm-Bill-Dann and cereal producer Bystrov.

Kosher, meaning "fit" or "proper" in Hebrew, is generally used to describe foods that are prepared in adherence to special Jewish dietary law which makes them acceptable for eating. These laws originate from the Torah and are expounded upon through rabbinical study and interpretation.

For example, pork, rabbit, shrimp, sturgeon and black caviar are out, but red caviar and beef and chicken slaughtered by a specially trained expert in a painless ritual fashion are in. There are also special laws relating to cheese, grape juice and wine production.

The Torah forbids Jews to mix dairy and meat products, so eating a McDonald's cheeseburger is out of the question for an observant Jew.

So where to find the right place to shop and eat?

"There is no Jewish quarter in Moscow, so it is unclear where to open a kosher store," Livshits said. "Jewish life in Moscow has traditionally revolved around a synagogue."

The Na Gorke cafe on the first floor of the Moscow Choral Synagogue near Kitai-Gorod stays busy with customers who drop by the synagogue to pray or just mingle with their friends. Small and cozy, the cafe offers meat, fish and poultry dishes.

For some Italian fare, head to the kosher milk cafe in the Jewish Community Center in Marina Roshcha. The cafe seats about 70 people, and it serves pizza, spaghetti, other kinds of pasta, salads and tasty desserts every day of the week except Saturday. On Fridays, before the Sabbath, the cafe's catering service sells ready-made salads, as well as meat and fish products.

Not far from the community center is a kosher supermarket, located inside a grocery store on Trifonovskaya Ulitsa. The store, which offers about the same range of products as your neighborhood supermarket, has been around for the last 1 1/2 years.

It sells chicken for 130 rubles a kilogram (about $4), sweet cottage cheese for 65 rubles a kilogram and bread for roughly 9 rubles. The staff recommends kosher American and French wines, about 480 rubles a bottle, and grape juice to be consumed on the Sabbath for 96 rubles a liter. Most canned products in the store come from Israel and the United States.

Those with a soft spot for traditional Jewish cooking served in a fashionable setting should find all they are looking for in Tsimmis, a high-end Jewish theme restaurant. It has two dining halls. One is strictly kosher, with its own separate kitchen and grill; it is closed on Saturdays. The other operates every day of the week and offers food that is outside strict kosher laws.

It is important to note that in order to carry the mark of kosher, all kosher cafes and shops are supervised by a rabbi or another specially appointed person.

Kosher Locales

Kosher Meat Cafe Na Gorke

Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 2-11 p.m.

Moscow Choral Synagogue

10 Spasoglinishevsky Pereulok

Metro Kitai-Gorod

Tel.: 923-5012

Kosher Supermarket

Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; closed Saturdays

45 Trifonovskaya Ulitsa

Metro Rizhskaya

Tel.: 926-8728

Bolshaya Bronnaya Synagogue

Currently closed for renovation; scheduled to reopen this winter

6 Bolshaya Bronnaya Ulitsa

Metro Pushkinskaya

Tel.: 202-4530

Jewish Community Center Kosher Milk Cafe

Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; closed Saturdays

5A 2nd Vysheslavtsev Pereulok

Metro Novoslobodskaya

Tel.: 231-2777, 289-2325


Hours: noon to midnight; Kosher kitchen closed Saturdays

3 Novoslobodskaya Ulitsa

Metro Novoslobodskaya

Tel.: 973-0873

Rabbinical Court

Tel.: 923-4788