Keeping kosher isn’t easy. The Torah is full of laws, or mitzvot, about the proper way to eat, and this dietary regimen becomes especially important around Jewish holidays. Some rules are strict (who can pick your grapes) and some rules may seem arbitrary (eating leavened bread around Passover), but there’s good news: Kosher diets are generally good for you, no matter what your religious persuasion. After all, what doctor wants you to guzzle milk with your pulled-pork sandwich?
There are lots of East Side restaurants that serve kosher meals, but what about making it yourself? Where do you find the ingredients for bubbie to assemble the perfect Hanukkah meal? Rhode Island is no Williamsburg, but we do have a handful of skilled kosher purveyors.
If this ancient biblical diet sounds like it’s for you, consider a chat with Rhode Island Kosher (RIKosher.org), an organization headquartered on Elmwood Avenue that offers free consultations for the kashrut-curious. RIK not only explains the nutritional benefits of keeping kosher, but consultants offer a step-by-step guide to finding local products that even King David would approve of. Here are some spots on the East Side that are worth visiting.
To be fair, most major supermarkets have their share of kosher products, usually stocked in the ambiguous “ethnic foods” aisle. But Eastside Marketplace has its own kosher butcher, who spends Monday and Thursday mornings carving hunks of meat and fish, all under the supervision of an official mashgiach. 165 Pitman Street
Bottles Fine Wine
Bottles sells just about everything, from local craft beer to obscure bottles of cognac, so it should be no surprise that the Providence liquor store also sells a nice selection of kosher wines. And this isn’t just the usual Manischewitz; you can find Mademoiselle rosé, crafted in Israel, and the Sparkling Muscat, made by The Butcher’s Daughter of France, among others. 141 Pitman Street
Davis Dairy Products
It doesn’t get more authentic than this: a corner shop on Hope Street, with a little awning that reads “Davis.” The store sells kosher dairy products, but you can also find jars of gefilte fish, slices of corned beef, and piles of cured lox. 721 Hope Street
Rhode Island is overflowing with caterers, but only one of them specializes in sweet potato latkes and challah bread. Ahava Catering is based across the river, but Chef Freda Baer serves all of Southern New England. Ahava is especially keen on Jewish celebrations – Bar Mitzvahs, high holy days, and even Shabbat specials.
Deb Blazer already had a successful career as an accountant before she started her kosher catering business in 2003. Under the supervision of Rabbi Wayne Franklin, award-winning Account for Taste provides all-inclusive catering for Passover, B'nai Mitzvot, and even in-home events for special family occasions.