It seems like all kosher Chinese restaurants have this cat-statue thingy in the front:

Maneki Neko

Is there any Halachic problem with that? I assume not, if they're all kosher-certified; but why not?

  • I just looked it up and can't find any references to this in Chinese culture (just Japanese). I have also never seen it before, despite visiting dozens of Chinese restaurants.
    – Seth J
    Aug 30, 2012 at 17:52

2 Answers 2


I don't think I've ever seen it, but a quick Wikipedia search on Maneki Neko (the title of your image!) reveals that it is some kind of good luck charm. It would definitely seem forbidden for a Jew to use it for that purpose, but I assume most have it there only for the "ambiance" (which might still be problematic, I don't know).

In any event, the kosher certification probably does not cover such issues; it would probably be out of any mashgiach's radar (until he visits mi.yodeya, that is).

  • 1
    If a chamtza, painting your house blue, or fish aren't forbidden, then why would this be forbidden?
    – avi
    Aug 10, 2011 at 5:11
  • Can you offer any support that having a good luck charm is problematic for a Jew, or that Kosher certification shouldn't care if there is 'Avodah Zarah present in the restaurant?
    – Seth J
    Aug 30, 2012 at 17:54
  • Some kashrus organizations focus primarily on the food itself and generally leave out the atmosphere, while others take the atmosphere into significant detail. For instance, I know the Star-K won't allow a lack of tznius clothing in their waiters (even non-Jewish run restaurants) or certain music/shows to be played.
    – NJM
    Mar 13, 2017 at 12:15
  • I don't think the issue is AZ, @SethJ. I think the issue is one of "לא תנחשו."
    – MTL
    Mar 13, 2017 at 13:57
  • @shokhet, I understand. My comment was noting lack of support provided in the answer for the assertions within the answer.
    – Seth J
    Mar 13, 2017 at 14:00

It's not any more of a problem than a khamse is at a North African restaurant. It's a siman for good luck, and not avoda zara. It's only problematic if you reject segulot and other superstitions, like the Rambam does. However, I would question what a JAPANESE cat thing is doing in a CHINESE restaurant!


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