In Portugal, the kosher cheese stands alone


JERUSALEM (JTA) — For the first time in more than 500 years, a dairy product has been granted kosher certification in Portugal.

A well-known local cheese, supervised by the chief rabbi of the city of Porto in northern Portugal, is the first dairy product that has been granted kosher certification in Portugal since the expulsion of the country’s Jews in 1497.

The production of Serra de Estrala cheese is supervised by Rabbi Daniel Litvak, an emissary for the Israel-based Shavei Israel organization, ministering to the descendants of the Anousim, Jews who converted hundreds of years ago against their will.

The owner of the cheese factory who approached Litvak to supervise all of his cheese products is a descendant of Anousim, according to a news release from Shavei Israel.

Litvak said the owner contacted him because of "his desire to renew his connection with Judaism and express his Jewish identity on the packaging of the cheese that is so closely associated with him."

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