April 18, 2024
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April 18, 2024
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Cooking for the Yomim Tovim in Israel

This Rosh Hashanah and Sukkos, numerous Americans will spend Yom Tov in Israel. When Americans travel to Israel for Yom Tov, they often do one of two things: a) They either bring their choice cuts of meat from the United States with them (as at least two local people do every year) or b) they purchase their meats there.

In Israel, there are some confusing hechsherim too. Most shechita in Israel checks the lungs of chickens. In America, they do not.

If the Americans in Israel opt for buying the meat in Israel, they will not be told a name — but they will be given a number. The conversation will usually go something like this:

“Yes, I would like a top of the rib, please…”

“Geveret, beretzinut… aizeh mispar!”

“Selicha? Ani rotzah top of the rib or, selicha, oh —, brisket. Ken brisket eehiyeh tov.”

“Geveret, vat number do you vant?”

“Well, I don’t know…”

“Call me back ven you know the number, please… Click.”

Taken aback that the butcher is refusing her business, the American will usually try to call someone with a bit more familiarity with the topic at hand. Often, she will get the response that brisket is No.3.

She then sends her spouse to go purchase the No. 3 cut of meat.

The American woman will cook the brisket, and half the time it will work out. A bit drier and less marbled, but still it is brisket. But half the time, it may taste more like skirt steak. Why? What is going on here, exactly?

The discerning shopper should be aware that, often, there is no exact equivalent to the cuts of meat that we would normally find in America. This is due to a number of factors:

1) The cow is cut up quite differently in Israel than it is here.

2) In Israel, they utilize a lot more of the animal than they do here. They cut the animal up into 19 different parts. Here in America, we don’t even process the hind quarters of the cow at all. Even the forequarters of the cow are cut and processed in a vastly different way than in Israel.

3) What would be considered two different parts of the cow in America is often considered the same part in Israel. For example, the No.3 is both the brisket as well as the plate (the source of skirt steaks).

Below is the list of the 19 different cuts that are available in Israel and their rough American equivalents culled from the Israeleasy blogspot site:

No. 1 Entrecote, Steak Ayin, Vered Hatzela.

Steaks and roast beef, suitable for

roasting and grilling.

U.S.rib, rib eye, delmonico.

No. 2 Rifaan, Tzlaot.

Suitable for slow-roasting, e.g. pot roast,

goulash and braising.

U.S. chuck or blade.

No. 3 Brust, Chazeh.

The favorite cut for salt/corned beef.

Cheap, lean and delicious after being

roasted in a slow oven for a few hours.

U.S. brisket or front poitrine.

No. 4 Katef, Katef Mercazi.

Pot roast and braising.

U.S. and U.K.rib or back rib, some say


No. 5 Tzli, Tzli Katef.

Pot roast, cooking in sauce, slow


Sliced for minute steak (blade).

Have the butcher “devein” it for two

beautiful pieces for your flank steak and

London Broil recipes.

No. 6 Falshe, Fillet Medumeh.

Braising, pot roast, cooking in sauce,

slow roasting.

Chuck Calachel.

No. 7 Polo, Shrir Hazroa, Shrir.

For goulash, soup, cholent; with a

bone-osso bucco top rib.

No. 8Shoulder Calachel, Shrir Hazroa.

For goulash, soup, cholent with a

bone-osso bucco.

No. 9 Shpundra, Kashtit.

Cholent, goulash and soup; with a

bone-assado and spare ribs.

Aka: short plate, flank, flanken


(Short ribs that are cut across the

rib bones are known as flanken.)

No. 10 Tzavar.

Soup and grinding.

No. 11 Sinta, Moten.

Roast beef and steaks.

Suitable for roasting and grilling.

From along the spine, around the waist.

U.S. and U.K.Sirloin or porterhouse.

No. 12 Filet.

Steaks and carpaccio.

Suitable for roasting and grilling

No. 13 Shaitel, Kanaf Haoketz.

Schnitzel, steak, skewering and oven


Suitable for roasting and grilling.

U.S. Round, U.K. Rump.

No. 14 Katchke, Ozit.

Braising, goulash, pot roast and


No. 15 Chuck, Yarcha.


No.16 Kaf.

Braising, steak, schnitzel and roast.

No. 17 Plada, Kislayim.

Rolada, goulash and grinding.

No. 18 Poli, Shrir Achori.

Goulash, soup and cholent.

No. 19 Weisbraten, Rosh Yarcha.


Below we also include a picture:

The American cuts are also found below: Lungs

There is a derabanan enactment that not only must the animal be shechted, but the lungs of a cow, sheep and goat must be checked to make sure that there are no abnormalities. The abnormalities are called sirchos, adhesions or scars.

The reason why the lungs must be checked as opposed to other areas for abnormalities is because abnormalities are more common in lungs — so the Rabbis made this enactment, takana. The lungs are inspected before they are removed from the chest cavity of the animal. The bodek (examiner) inserts his hand into the chest cavity, after first having opened the diaphragm. He examines the lobes of the lung to look for sirchos. This is called, “bedikas penim.”

The lungs are then removed from the chest cavity and examined again externally. This is called, “bedikas chutz.”

They are checked by feeling in the bedikas penim, and also by blowing them up in the bedikas chutz to make sure that there are no holes.

There are other things that have to be checked when it is common for an abnormality to be found. For example, often chickens may have a problem of tarfus (non-kosher absorptions) in the knee area. This is called, “tzumas hagiddim.”

Removing Adhesions: Sirchos

There is also a concept among Ashkenazic Jews, mentioned in the Ramah in the mid-1500s, called removing the adhesions through mi’uch and mishmush — rubbing and rolling.

If there is no blood in the adhesion, and if there is no small perforation that is made in the mi’uch and mishmash, Ashkenazic custom is to permit the animal — but it is not necessarily called,glatt kosher (smooth) — it is just called, “regular kosher.”

This custom actually dates back to the time of the Gaonim, but has always been controversial among halachic authorities. Sefardic Jews consider this removal — non-kosher. Removing the adhesions is also forbidden on calves and lambs. It is only allowed on full grown animals.

The rationale for allowing the removal of adhesions is that they are not considered adhesions at all but rather are called “ririn,” mucous adhesions that are not connected to the lung.

In the past two centuries, a new form of adhesion removal developed called “kiluf hasirchos.” It is a debate among halachic authorities whether this is similar to mi’uch and mishmash or whether it is entirely new. If the rir came off with only minimal effort, the custom among Ashkenazic Jews is to still consider it glatt kosher. However, the author of the Shulchan Aruch would not have conceded this point at all. The Beit Yoseph would have considered even easily removed rir as non-kosher. If meat fits this requirement it is called “Beit Yoseph Chalak” or “Beit Yoseph Shechita.”

A new terminology has emerged in recent years. If there are no adhesions on the lungs, it is now called “Beis Yoseph Glatt.” If there are adhesions and they are very thin (like a thread) and are easily removed, it is considered and advertised as “regular glatt kosher.” It is not politically correct to say this, but much of what passes today as glatt would have been considered regular kosher 50years ago.

The author can be reached at [email protected]

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