Tourist Tip #83 / Keeping Kosher in Israel, Part III

In the levels of kosher observance, 'Mehadrin Min HaMehadrin' is the strictest of the strict. Restaurants that adhere to these regulations belong to an exclusive dining club with only a handful of members.

If you arrived in Israel thinking all Kosher eateries were alike, think again. Earlier this week, we debunked the most basic of Israeli kosher certification, or “Kosher Rabbanut,” and also explained the next level of disciplined dining, “Kosher Mehadrin.”

Israel's most religious Jews, however, go even one step further. When they choose to eat out, they will only frequent restaurants that are card-carrying members of “Mehadrin Min HaMehadrin” club. This is an exclusive dining club, which has guidelines so strict that only a handful of restaurants in the country can say they belong.

To be Mehadrin Min HaMehadrin, absolutely nothing – from washing to slaughtering to hiring a Jewish chef – can have a question mark. There is no room for error for the Jews who dine here, and the establishments that choose to hold themselves to this standard triple-check every grain, speck and molecule that comes in the door.

These institutions are approved, certified and checked by the local rebbe, who has the final word on which institutions make the cut and which need to raise their standards even further.

It's important for an average kosher diner to remember that every restaurant certified as Kosher in Israel has met extremely strict standards and is beholden to regular inspections by their city's rabbinical courts. But like religion itself, kosher eating is a deeply personal choice, and for diners who believe that only the very best will do when it comes to kosher, Mehadrin Min Mehadrin offers the highest standard available.

To find Mehadrin Min Mehadrin restaurants in your area, your best bet is to ask your local rabbi or religious friends familiar with the area. They tend not to advertise in traditional media or on the Internet, so word of mouth will be most helpful in tracking them down.