In August, the Jerusalem Rabbinate introduced a new Kashrut certification which is now beginning to become popular among Jerusalem restaurants.
The certification, called “Mehuderet”, is designed for Jerusalem restaurants who are interested in providing Badatz and Mehadrin level certified foods and Kashrut to their clients, but aren’t interested in the politics and prices that the private Badatz certifications bring along with them.
Typically, the private certifications have high monthly fees and lock the restaurants into specific suppliers, especially in the case of meat, even if the other Badatz and Mehadrin products are considered just as kosher.
The “Mehuderet” certification requires that all the products used in the restaurant be at the Badatz and Mehadrin level, but don’t require an additional private Badatz certificate or purchase of products from only specific Badatz certifications.
In addition, unlike the standard Jerusalem Mehadrin certificate, meat that is certified as Mehadrin by the Rabbinate from other cities and not just Jerusalem may be used, which can sometimes result in major cost savings.
One Jerusalem restaurant who made the switch told JewishPress.com, “I pay for the Jerusalem ‘Mehuderet’ certification less per year than I was paying the Badatz each month, and that fee was above the cost of the Mashgiach! After I switched to the Jerusalem Rabbinate’s ‘Mehuderet’ certification I kept my same exact Mashgiach, but I now have flexibility in choosing my Mehadrin and Badatz suppliers and products. My clients care about Mehadrin and they are definitely OK with this new certification.”
In recent years, due to the high certification costs, some Jerusalem restaurants began to forgo the Badatz/Mehadrin certifications completely, trading them in for the minimal Jerusalem Kashrut, while still only using Mehadrin and Badatz products. But that cost saving measure also resulted in a loss of customers.
This new certificate may reverse that tide, by assuring customers that the food they’re eating is Mehadrin and prepared according to the Mehadrin levels they want, while significantly lowering prices.
If this new Jerusalem certificate continues to grow in popularity, we may see other other local Rabbinates in Israel begin to copy the model, creating a revolution in Israel’s tightly controlled Badatz/Mehadrin Kashrut certification industry.