NYC Investigating Illnesses Linked to Kosher Gourmet Dinner

Unique food served at Spanish Portuguese Synagogue like brains, testicles and locusts make guest sick for some inexplicable reason.

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"Halakhic Dinner" — 'Butter' poached brains with chickpeas, white pickled garlic and lemon and truffle oil.
"Halakhic Dinner" — 'Butter' poached brains with chickpeas, white pickled garlic and lemon and truffle oil.Credit: Screenshot

A synagogue event in New York billed as a "Halakhic" dinner offering infrequently consumed kosher food left many of its attendees regret their bold choices and triggered an investigation by the city's health department, Vos Iz Neias reported Tuesday.

Manhattan's Congregation Shearith Israel, also known as the Spanish Portuguese Synagogue, hosted the meal, which offered off-the-beaten-path delicacies such as poached brains, testicles, slow cooked ox-tail, chocolate covered locusts and veal hearts. Rabbi Meir Soloveichik led the evening, during which attendees received a menu providing the biblical and Talmudic sources regarding the kashrut status of each item, according to Vos Iz Neias.

However, some 20 people out of approximately 225 diners reportedly came down ill.

“We’re currently investigating and working with the synagogue,” Christopher Miller, press secretary for the Department of Health, told the Orthodox Jewish news site. Rabbi Soloveichik did not respond to requests for comment from Vos Iz Neias.

Dani Klein, founder of YeahThatsKosher, posted attractive photos of many of the dishes on his website, but his Facebook posting of the event drew dozens of reactions from those affected by the dinner or followers of the fiasco.

One wrote about getting "progressively worse," while another said he heard "it is parasitic and will take 4-6+ weeks to purge out."

"I feel like I should bench gomel," commented another reader, referring to the Jewish prayer one says after having a near-death experience. "I'm feeling nauseous just reading this," followed the next comment.

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