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Ireland’s first kosher restaurant in decades attracts local Jews and non-Jewish celebrities

(JTA) — The first kosher delicatessen to open in Ireland in over half a century is proving a surprise hit among Dubliners since it opened its doors in March — and not only among Jews.  

Located in the southern part of the city, Deli 613 has been serving up a mix of local fare, such as salt beef sandwiches and chopped herring, alongside Israeli comfort food. And the cozy deli — named after the number of mitzvot, or commandments, in the Torah — has quickly cultivated a following.

In May, the Irish Times awarded Deli 613 four and a half stars out of five in a rave review that described the eatery as a “great addition” to the Dublin scene. Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s head of government, stopped by for latkes and matzah ball soup in July. Former Scottish soccer star Graeme Souness, “Star Trek” actor Colm Meaney and TV chef Donal Skehan have also dropped in. 

“We have a counter full of food, shelves and a full fridge with grab-and-go items like sandwiches and salads,” said Rifky Lent, who runs the restaurant with her husband Zalman, a rabbi. The pair are Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries who live in Dublin. “We also have typical things, like hummus, tahina, chopped liver and herring, that we make in-house.” 

Celebrities aside, Deli 613 has won a following among both local and visiting Jews. “We also have the local Jewish population, a lot of whom are elderly, and they were very excited to come and buy things like chopped liver,” said Lent.

Dublin, a technology hub, also plays host to a large number of Israelis who have been scouring the city for favorites from back home. “We have Israelis that are looking for things like Bamba, as well as Israeli dishes like hummus, shawarma and sabich,” an egg and eggplant sandwich, she added. 

Since the space is small, patrons tend to sit and enjoy coffee and food on the tables outside. 

In the future, the deli plans to offer formal table service once a week.

For now, reviewers have praised both the quality and freshness of the food on offer — which is made by a non-Jewish chef.

“We decided to hire a very good chef who was very experienced in the Irish food market who is not Jewish,” said Lent. “He was super excited about trying something new and different,” she said, adding that he was working alongside a part-time Jewish chef in the kitchen.  

The Lents, who have lived in Ireland since 2000, had been planning for the opening of a new Chabad Center in southern Dublin. They had also been helping Ireland’s local community grapple with a shortage of kosher food that followed the United Kingdom’s recent withdrawal from the European Union, of which Ireland is a member. Jews in Ireland had traditionally relied on suppliers in neighboring Great Britain for kosher products, but new regulatory checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea have added costs and entailed mountains of paperwork. 

These complications had made it difficult for Irish Jews to find the goods they needed. Deli 613 has managed to fill some of that niche.

“There were a few things that happened at the same time that made us think: let’s do it,” recalled Lent. 

But she added that the deli itself has had to overcome some Brexit hurdles. 

“It is really complicated,” said Lent. “We tried getting suppliers from England, and we did manage to order a few times from there, but it is very difficult ordering directly from Britain now. It is a nightmare with paperwork and businesses are generally not very willing to do it.” 

For example, in a process that Lent called a “bit ridiculous,” the deli orders meat that originates in Britain but must first pass through somewhere farther away in the EU to get to Ireland.

Despite those difficulties, stocking the products that Irish Jews recognized — such as specific cold cuts — was important, Lent said. “The Jewish food culture here is much more aligned with British food culture, so they are much more used to what Jews in England are eating.” 

Deli 613’s full shelves may also provide a long-term supermarket option for kosher-keeping Jews in Dublin. After Brexit, the market that had traditionally supplied Irish Jews announced that it would no longer stock kosher foods. While the local synagogue has opened a shop temporarily, Lent said that “It was not a long-term thing.” 

“We are selling kosher meat, kosher chicken, matzah meal, the essentials of life,” she said.

Maurice Cohen,  president of the Ireland Jewish Representative Council, believes that Deli 613 is the first fully kosher eatery in Ireland since the late 1960s. There is, however, a nearby bakery that sells kosher bread. Only a few thousand Jews live in Ireland, a country of about 5 million people.

“That there is kosher food available is tremendous,” Cohen said.

While only a few dozen families are thought to keep fully kosher in Dublin, many in the community have already begun to frequent Deli 613. “It has become a meeting place,” Cohen said. “People are going there at lunchtime. They sit outside and they have coffee.” 

While Lent says that she was initially surprised by how much Dubliners have embraced Deli 613, Cohen says that its success reflects how much Ireland’s tastes have changed. 

“Dubliners are very interested in different foods and cuisines,” said Cohen, who said that the quality and types of food on offer in Dublin have grown exponentially over recent decades. 

“I’ve been involved in the food industry for a very long time,” he added. “Irish people have gone from having no palate to having a very sophisticated palate.”

The post Ireland’s first kosher restaurant in decades attracts local Jews and non-Jewish celebrities appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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White House Calls Netanyahu’s Comments on US Weapons Deliveries ‘Perplexing,’ ‘Disappointing’

US White House National Security Communications Adviser John Kirby speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, June 17, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

The White House expressed “deep disappointment” over criticism from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the United States on Thursday amid tensions between the two allies over Israel‘s war in Gaza.

“It was perplexing to say the least, certainly disappointing, especially given that no other country is doing more to help Israel defend itself against the threat by Hamas,” White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters.

The White House response came as national security adviser Jake Sullivan and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken planned meetings with Netanyahu’s two top aides to discuss the Gaza conflict.

Netanyahu on Tuesday issued an English-language video in which he said Blinken had assured him that the Biden administration was working to lift restrictions on arms deliveries to Israel, an exchange the top US diplomat declined to confirm.

In a rare account of normally private diplomatic conversations, Netanyahu also said he told Blinken that it was “inconceivable” that in the past few months Washington was withholding weapons and ammunition to Israel.

Kirby addressed the comments in a briefing with reporters, saying the US had directly expressed displeasure to Israel.

“I think we’ve made it abundantly clear to our Israeli counterparts through various vehicles our deep disappointment in the statements expressed in that video and our concerns over the accuracy in the statements made,” Kirby said.

“The idea that we had somehow stopped helping Israel with their self-defense needs is absolutely not accurate,” he said.

Israeli national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi and Ron Dermer, Israel‘s minister for strategic affairs, will speak with Sullivan as a larger, more formal “strategic dialogue” meeting was being rescheduled, according to a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Blinken will meet with the Israelis at 3 pm, according to a senior State Department official.

Blinken said weapons shipments — with the exception of one with 2,000-pound bombs — were moving as usual given Israel faced security threats beyond Gaza, including from Hezbollah and Iran. He declined to comment on his private exchange with Netanyahu during a news conference on Tuesday.

The United States in May paused a shipment of 2,000-pound and 500-pound bombs due to concern over the impact they could have in densely populated areas but Israel was still due to get billions of dollars worth of US weaponry.

Scrutiny on Israel‘s conduct in its military operation in Gaza has increased as the Palestinian death toll from the war in the Hamas-run enclave has increased. Israeli officials argue they have gone to unprecedented lengths to try and avoid civilian casualties, noting Hamas terrorists embed themselves within the larger population and use civilian sites as military operation centers.

The war started when Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists stormed across the border and attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and taking 250 others hostage.

Biden in April warned Israel that the US would stop supplying it weapons if Israeli forces launch a large-scale offensive in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza that is considered the last major bastion of Hamas.

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Israeli Actress Shira Haas Wins Award for Role in Upcoming TV Series ‘Night Therapy’

Shira Haas on the set of “Night Therapy.” Photo: Nati Levi

Israeli actress Shira Haas was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Monte Carlo Television Festival on Tuesday night for her role in an upcoming Israeli television series titled “Night Therapy” that will premiere later this month.

Haas stars in the 10-part psychological drama alongside Yousef Sweid (“Munich Games,” “Game of Thrones”), as well as Lucy Ayoub, Yaakov Zada Daniel, and Firas Nassar, all of whom have starred in the popular Israeli series “Fauda.”

Haas, who accepted her award from the Monte Carlo Television Festival via video because she was in the United States filming, took to Instagram to thank the festival for her award.

“This is such a special project for me, a personal and genuinely (ongoing) healing one, and I can’t wait for you all to meet Yasmin very soon,” she wrote, referencing her character’s name in the show.

Written and created by Raanan Caspi, “Night Therapy” is about an Arab-Israeli psychologist named Louie (Sweid) who struggles to raise his two children after his Jewish-Israeli wife commits suicide. To be more present for his children during the day and to better balance his work and home life, Louie decides to shift his practice so he sees patients at night. Haas plays one of his patients — a computer genius named Yasmin who rarely leaves her home and prefers to spend her time in the virtual world instead of the real one.

“Through the gateway and magic of the late clinic hours, and flashback scenes where Louie acts as an unseen observer to their problems, the series depicts refreshing points of view on life, which often require unusual treatments,” according to a synopsis provided by Yes Studios, which is distributing the show. “Combining absorbing therapy sessions — written with the input of practicing psychologists — with storylines and characters from Louie’s personal life, ‘Night Therapy’ is a touching, emotional and sexy new drama series.”

The show premieres on Yes TV in Israel on June 30 and is being sold internationally by Yes Studios. The series is directed by Gabriel Bibliowicz and produced by Dafna Danenberg, Aviram Avraham, and Benny Menache at Eight Productions.

Haas previously had starring roles in the hit Israeli television series “Shtisel” as well as the film “Unorthodox,” for which she won an award. She also became the first Israeli television actress nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in “Unorthodox.” Haas Tribeca Film Festival for starring in “Asia,” in which she played a terminally ill character, and additionally won two best supporting actress awards at the Israeli Academy Awards. She is reportedly scheduled to appear in Marvel’s upcoming film “Captain America: Brave New World” as an Israeli superhero named Sabra.

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Swiss Museum Sells Monet Painting in Settlement With Heirs of Former Jewish Owner Forced to Sell Artwork During WWII

A partial view of Monet’s “L’Homme à l’ombrelle.” Photo: Kunsthaus Zürich via Wikimedia Commons

The largest art museum in Switzerland announced on Wednesday that it is selling a painting by Claude Monet as part of an agreement with heirs of the artwork’s original Jewish owner, who was forced to sell it during World War II when he fled Nazi Germany.

The Kunsthaus Zürich said it reached a “fair and just solution” and “amicable settlement” with the heirs of Jewish entrepreneur Carl Sachs regarding the painting “L’Homme à l’ombrelle” (“Man with a Parasol”) from the late 19th century. Proceeds from the sale will be allocated between the museum and Sachs’ family.

Sachs and his wife fled Nazi persecution in Germany and moved to Switzerland in 1939. He was forced to sell “L’Homme à l’ombrelle,” and several other pieces from his art collection, to the Kunsthaus Zürich in order to make a living. “The sale of Monet’s ‘L’Homme à l’ombrelle’ to the Kunsthaus Zürich was the first work that Sachs had to sell due to the acute financial emergency just a few weeks after fleeing Nazi Germany to Switzerland,” the museum explained.

“A swift sale was needed to provide the couple with money to live on, and he was therefore acting under duress,” the Kunsthaus Zürich said. Sachs died shortly afterward in December 1943 and by that point he had sold 13 artworks from his collection.

Philipp Hildebrand, the chair of Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft, said: “Of course we regret that this wonderful painting will leave the Kunsthaus. At the same time, this step underpins the seriousness of our provenance strategy and our fundamental attitude towards a transparent and solution-oriented approach to works in our collection in which there are substantiated references to Nazis [or] there is a situation of a persecution-related predicament.”

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