Roman Jews, Israeli Rabbinate Clash Over Artichokes

09 Apr 2018

The Israeli Chief Rabbinate and the Roman Jewish community are embroiled in a debate over a traditional artichoke dish as the Rabbinate has banned “carciofi alla giudìa” from Israeli shelves. The issue hinges on the matter of insects and worms that might reside in the heart of the vegetable, which would present a serious kashrut concern. (Eating a bug violates more Torah prohibitions than eating non-kosher meat,)

Carciofi alla giudìa – literally “Jewish-style artichoke” – is an extremely popular dish among Rome’s Jewish community, dating back to the 16th century. Authorities in Rome insist that their artichokes are different from the Jerusalem artichokes with which the Israeli Rabbinate would be familiar. “Our artichokes are tighter and more compact than the ones in Israel, which prevents insects and worms from dwelling inside,” a source told La Repubblica. “Roman Jews know exactly which ones to choose and how to cook them for them to be legitimate.”

While the community has no intention of giving up the dish, the Jewish community in Milan has asked a local restaurant to change the recipe in order to comply with the Rabbinate’s guidelines.