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Poll Reveals Interest for Kosher Restaurant in Harvard Square

By Kerry M. Flynn, Crimson Staff Writer

A recent Facebook poll has generated interest from the Harvard community in what could be the opening of Harvard Square’s only all-kosher restaurant.

In the poll by Rami’s, a kosher Israeli restaurant in Brookline, Harvard Square received the most votes for a potential second location.

Manager Haim Cohen released the Facebook poll on Dec. 2, with options for a second location, including four Massachusetts cities—Boston, Cambridge, Framingham, and Sharon—as well as Maine and Philadelphia.

The poll did not receive much attention and previously had Sharon in the lead until Dec. 4, when Cambridge received nearly 100 votes overnight, according to Cohen. Overall, Cambridge received nearly 200 votes.

After the high response from that poll, Cohen released another asking for a specific location in Cambridge.

A student sent an email linking to the poll over the Harvard Orthodox Student Minyan list, which brought awareness to the potential of a kosher restaurant coming to the Square.

Still, the Facebook poll is only a start to gauge public interest in a new location for Rami’s, Cohen said.

“We’re looking for a place with a lot of foot traffic and visibility,” he said, adding that Harvard Square meets those criteria.

Rami’s menu offers Middle Eastern cuisine, including falafel, hummus, and shwarma. All products are homemade and follow kosher standards.

Current kosher options for Harvard students are limited.

Harvard Hillel serves kosher dinner five days a week during the academic year. Harvard dining halls also offer kosher options.

“If you keep kosher, it’s hard to find options other than what’s in the dining halls,” Harry A. Chiel ’13 said.

Other kosher options include J.P. Lick’s, Lizzie’s and Ben & Jerry’s—all ice cream shops.

“It would be nice to have a restaurant nearby if you want to go somewhere with your friends who don’t necessarily eat kosher,” Rachel E. Zax ’12 said.

Brookline is home to several kosher restaurants.

“People will go out to Brookline and take the bus just to get some pizza. Having a restaurant in Harvard Square would be fantastic,” said Arun A. Viswanath ’13, outgoing president of Harvard Hillel.

Rebecca Goldstein ’13 said she sees the success of a kosher meat restaurant depending on the community.

“Now that there’s a big kosher community in Cambridge, I think they would get a lot of business,” Goldstein said.

Sharon Weiss-Greenberg, Orthodox advisor at Harvard Hillel, said she thinks the presence of kosher restaurant option in the Square could contribute to students’ decisions on where to attend school.

“[This restaurant] could help the Jewish community grow and flourish. People are surprised that there’s so little here that’s kosher,” she said.

—Staff writer Kerry M. Flynn can be reached at kflynn@college.harvard.edu.

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