“Jewish dietary laws prescribe not merely a diet for the body but a diet for the soul… a diet to maintain one’s spiritual well-being…” (Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin, ‘To Be a Jew’)
Distributing specialty food items is no easy task in the best of times. The logistics behind providing kosher food to a growingly observant Jewish population spread over ten time zones are incalculable.
As soon as Jews in the formerSoviet Unionwere permitted to observe dietary laws, the FJC began setting up a network of rabbis and kashrut mashgiachs (supervisors) to convert and monitor food-manufacturing plants, breweries and wineries. They also trained and established a group of shochets (ritual slaughterers) who are responsible for preparing 10 tons of kosher meat per week throughout the 15 countries of the formerSoviet Union. At the same time, small kosher grocery stores began springing up throughout the FSU, most of them operated independently by the Jewish communities themselves.
Community members receive lists of shops and imported or locally produced kosher products that they can purchase at regular supermarket chains. And even kosher restaurants and larger stores have opened in Moscow, Petersburg, Dnepropetrovsk, Riga and other major cities.