(RNS) — On Saturday night, hours after Hamas’ surprise assault on Israel, which left more than 1,300 Israelis dead and more than 120 held captive in the Gaza Strip, “mashgichim” — kosher certifiers — were at work in restaurant kitchens across Tel Aviv, burning out ovens, boiling pots and pans and spreading vinegar over countertops to prepare them for kosher use. “We felt we needed to do something, and what we know how to do is cook,” said Yuval Ben Neriah, the owner of Taizu, a chic Asian-fusion restaurant in downtown Tel Aviv. “We took a decision late Saturday after this attack began that we’re going to do everything we can. First of all, to support our soldiers and secondly to support our staff, which is very stressed, and they need obviously something to do.”
“I decided first we’re going to cook everything that we have available and then afterward we want to provide as much as we can,” Ben Neriah said.
Unlike Jerusalem, where many Jewish-owned restaurants are certified as kosher by Israel’s state rabbinate, in famously secular Tel Aviv, kosher is not the norm. Taizu, like many other restaurants in the city, boasts non-kosher staples like shrimp on their menu.
That’s a problem for restaurant owne …