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There is a middle-eastern restaurant1 (independent, not chain) near my workplace that my coworkers think highly of. Today I learned that it is halal (some info about what that means), which got me wondering whether there'd be any chance of them taking the extra steps to go from halal to kosher. I understand that halal doesn't have restrictions on mixing meat and dairy, so that's one issue, but what about the rest? Would the supervision required for kashrut be comparable to that required for halal (so from their point of view it'd be swapping one certifying authority for another), or are we much more stringent, invasive, and/or expensive? What would it take for them to move from where they are now to being kosher?

It might not be practical, but if it's a small change I'm considering asking them about it. (This would bring kosher food to our business district.) But I want to be armed with reliable information first about what it would mean for them.

I'm not asking about how going kosher would affect their halal status (that's a question for a different site). I'm asking what the considerations are for getting from where they are -- closer to kosher than a random restaurant but not there -- to kosher.

1 Shish-kebabs, shwarma, falafel, rice/lentils, salads, etc.

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Migrate to Islam.SE? How can we answer this without knowing details of Challal supervision? –  Double AA Jun 24 at 20:10
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@DoubleAA won't Islam.SE have the same issue in reverse? –  YeZ Jun 24 at 20:11
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@yez possibly, but not really my issue. Afaict this is off topic here –  Double AA Jun 24 at 20:17
    
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Related (from the other side): islam.stackexchange.com/q/305 –  Monica Cellio Jun 24 at 21:16

2 Answers 2

My understanding of Halal (and therefore take that with a significant grain of salt - but I did read an article about it once) is that it would actually make things more complicated. The supervision would be duplicative, and the issues, while overlapping are not fully satisfied. And it would only be possible if something about the Halal certification was accepting Kosher as a substitute for the meat, at least.

To elaborate, Kosher supervision won't accept Halal visits as having any impact on Kosher, so there would be no savings in the supervision level. In fact, in the case of a meat restaurant they would probably be signing up for full time supervision. I'm not aware of any certification that would do less than that in this context, but I could be missing something.

I don't think there is any meat sold which is simultaneously Halal and Kosher. There are slaughter houses which produce both, but not with the same cow. If there were, it would have to be one slaughtered by a Jewish Shochet. Which means that the Halal certification would have to accept that. If the full time supervision was not enough of a deal breaker, I would think this would be fatal.

In addition to all of this, all of the ingredient restrictions that would come with Kosher would be on top of the major additional one for Halal - no alcohol. The most obvious ingredient from that menu that would be impacted would be vinegar (assuming they use any).

So the upshot is, that unless the demand for Halal is satisfied by the place being Kosher plus maybe a Halal certification that will go along with the Kosher ingredients or an owner being a good Muslem and regarded by his customers as reliable about not including alcohol, it would seem that going Kosher would be made worse by having to be doubly concerned with the Halal. A better starting point may be a place that has no certification at all.

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Vinegar is prohibited to Muslims because of alcohol? Learn new things every day.... –  Shokhet Jun 25 at 2:40
    
I believe that some north African Muslims hold that vinegar is mutar –  Noach mi Frankfurt Jun 25 at 5:01
    
@NoachmiFrankfurt, yeah, it is a Machlokes HaPoskim, l'havid. Ironically they seem to be more lenient about wine vinegar than processed (your typical Heinz variety) vinegar, which makes it even more incompatible with Kosher. –  Yishai Jun 25 at 15:06
    
@Yishai, at least where I live, hechshered wine vinegar is easy to find. Furthermore, My source for the above is that Moroccans will consume Dijon-style mustard, assuming a halal hashgacha. –  Noach mi Frankfurt Jul 2 at 2:37

According to this Islamic opinion, it is generally acceptable for a Muslim to eat kosher meat, so if the restaurant underwent kosher supervision, it would no longer need halal supervision. (However, it is worth noting that the article below notes that some Muslims may not agree with this, and it will all depend on the religious preferences of the owners)

So, the answer to your question is that it is no easier for a halal restaurant to become kosher than any other restaurant, given that halal generally doesn't extend to the length of the details of kashrut, but if the restaurant were to become kosher, it would still be acceptable for most Muslims to eat there.

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Wouldn't the restaurant serve things besides meat? –  Double AA Jun 25 at 16:42
    
Yes, but halal, per this link, generally doesn't apply to non meat products; the exception of course is alcohol, which the kosher restaurant would have to refrain from serving. –  eliyahu-g Jun 25 at 17:13

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