Today's Special: Pair helping increase C-U's kosher options
CHAMPAIGN — One local restaurant began offering certified kosher food this weekend, and a second eatery is expected to follow suit next month.
A UI Jewish educator from the Orthodox Union Jewish Learning Initiative, Rabbanit Ahava Schachter-Zarembski, and her husband, Rabbi Shlomo Schachter, have been working with the Illini Hillel to create kosher dining options in Champaign-Urbana
"We ourselves are from Israel, where there are lots of kosher restaurants," she said. "When we came to Champaign-Urbana, we realized there is nowhere we can eat. And where are the students eating?"
No Illinois restaurants outside Chicago have kosher certification from the Vaad Hoeir in St. Louis, Schachter-Zarembski said.
"Every large Jewish community has a supervising authority that will go into restaurants and make sure the restaurants are following these rules," Schachter-Zarembski said. "We have created a strong relationship with the supervising authority in St. Louis. They have been amazing in helping us expand access to koscher foods for Jewish students."
So Schachter-Zarembski approached two restaurants about becoming kosher.
Cold Stone Creamery, 505 E. Green St., C, planned to begin serving kosher items this weekend.
The Dancing Dog, 126 W. Main St., U, is in the process of getting certified, and Schachter-Zarembski says the restaurant is expected to begin kosher sales by the end of April.
Schachter-Zarembski said representatives from the Vaad Hoeir will inspect Cold Stone Creamery and The Dancing Dog twice a year to ensure they meet kosher standards. Local authorities from the Jewish community will also be making weekly inspections.