Not Kosher

The “Kingdom of Pork” factory shop in Tel Aviv. Pork is not a kosher meat, so as most of the large supermarket chains in Israel are kosher, they don’t and can’t sell it – and in any case there’s not so much demand for it as it’s not traditionally part of Jewish (or indeed Arabic as it’s also not Halal) cuisine. Some of the population do want to buy it though – usually foreign workers and immigrants (as people settle here) from Asia and other places where pork is a popular food; it’s also in demand from some immigrants from the Former USSR who ate it back in the old country.  Kingdom of Pork is located near the Central Bus Station, an area popular with Chinese and Thai workers and immigrants.

Kosher restaurants and shops in Israel (not all restaurants and shops are “officially” kosher even if they only sell kosher food) display a sign saying כשר (kosher) – this place ironically has a lot of signs saying לא כשר i.e. NOT kosher. As if they needed it!

For those who don’t know these languages, the signs on the shop are in Russian, Romanian and Hebrew and announce that this is the Number 1 store in Israel and that it offers “factory prices”.

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18 comments on “Not Kosher”

  1. Very interesting picture. They have all the popular cuts of pork displayed in their picture and the widows above with the clothes lines is not something you see here. Pork is very popular here in the states and in Texas, barbecue pork ribs are really popular.

  2. i cannot belive it’s even possible to buy the stuff there! amazing!
    (and a neat shot too!)

  3. I like the photo, and the story adds so much to it.

    Here, in Portugal, pork is the most popular meat.

  4. I’ve just remembered a charming-looking kosher shop in London with a very traditional-sounding name. Something such as ‘Abraham’s Kosher Produce’.

    And right next door was ‘Abraham’s Ham and Bacon Produce’.

    I should have found out what was going on.

  5. Terry – I can imagine that barbecues are popular in Texas :) People (including me) do dry clothes on balconies here because it’s so hot. But this photo is of a very poor area, with lots of pollution, so I’m not sure how clean the clothes end up.

    trotsky – yep, pork is even served in some restaurants and cafes, and there’s a huge non-kosher supermarket chain (originally marketed to the immigrants from the former USSR) that famously sells lots of it, and I think there’s a Christian Arab chain selling it too. It’s not so mainstream, though, and among secular Jews it’s nearly as much for cultural reasons – Jewish cuisine doesn’t include pork, like British food doesn’t include horse meat – as religious ones.

    jon – thanks and I also wonder what Abraham was up to – maybe it was a different Abraham? :)

  6. A total surprise. Never in a million years would I have imagined anyone selling pork of any pork products in Israel. Very funny to read the words in Hebrew. Definitely – not a word I’ve ever come across in my learning of the language. Thanks for the bit of enlightenment..and – love the image!!!

  7. Marcie – to be honest, I was very surprised the first time I saw Kingdom of Pork, hence the picture :) As I said, it’s not very mainstream even though it’s sold (along with other non-kosher products like shrimps etc) in some non-kosher supermarket chains. I don’t think you’d find this in Jerusalem though…

  8. I like the windows above the sign and the “curtains” of different patterns. The flatness and paleness of the image gives one a sense of a hot summer. Love your processing here. Kingdom of Pork is an amusing name especially in this instance. As with several of your images I find an unexpected and wry bit of humor lurking in them. And the text that accompanies your images is always interesting and informative with details that one could not easily come by.

  9. Your text is always informative and intriguing. Thank you for that. Pork is commonly consumed here in the US as our third most consumed meat. Looks like “marketing” is the same everywhere… big signs promoting what everyone already knows you sell. Thanks again for your views of Tel Aviv.

  10. Definitely an unusual and very interesting subject for those of us who wouldn’t expect to see such a sign in Israel. I wonder if the place angers some people there. In some liberal Arab countries like Oman there is a pork room in a supermarket but I’ve never seen a whole shop like this. Your write-up as usual is first rate and informative.

  11. Amazing view and shot! What post treatment! Here in Quebec (Canada), they produce 8,000,000 of pork (non kosher) for 8,000,000 people!

  12. I know nothing but I do know anywhere called “Kingdom of Pork” has my vote….what a great name and pork is the king of meats providing so much.

    Thank you Cat as always for the background though.

  13. Porkomania, Pork Emporium, Porky and ?
    This made us smile. We would not have thought that a shop like this (with a name like this) would survive in Tel Aviv

  14. Hi! What actually drew my attention in this picture was the Romanian text :) I am Romanian and this was surprising for me (although it’s misspelt…). But I guess the buyers are the many immigrants living in Tel Aviv, many nationalities couldn’t survive without pork i guess…

  15. I really love the way you process your photos. I think I wrote that already earlier, but your processing makes your frame appears somewhat …. nostalgic. Or maybe I’m just hungry and seeing all this delicious meat :P… Nicely done. Love it

  16. Japanese was found :)

  17. Thanks for all the comments – I really appreciate them and it’s great to see what how people react :)

    luanar , I wondered about the Romanian as well, there must be a clientele of Romanians in Tel Aviv I guess – there’s definitely a large community of Romanian Jews here but I guess there’s now Romanian Christians who are here for the work opportunities.

  18. Another great shot with a “vintage” feel to it. I like how it looks like film that has been in someone’s shoebox for many years.


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