Westville Kosher is Closing

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I visited Westville Kosher today to pick up some chicken for dinner and turkey for sandwiches for the week. My son came with me to practice his Hebrew with Rachel. As I paid for my food, Rachel explained to my son in Hebrew that she and Yuval were closing the store and retiring at the end of the month. Excuse me? I didn’t understand all of the words. She repeated for me in English. I still didn’t understand. I stood mouth agape, tears in my eyes.

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Rachel and Yuval Hamenachem opened Westville Kosher at the end of 1984 as a kosher butcher and added prepared food and novelties from Israel through the years. It was the only place in the the greater New Haven area for many years to buy food for Passover until Stop & Shop started carrying items. It’s the place that whips up meals for families in mourning, provides delicious tuna salad for Shabbat luncheons, and supplies delicacies for brisses and other simchas. I went to Westville Kosher the week before my son’s bar mitzvah to pick up deli sandwiches as he and his tutor wrapped up their rehearsal. Not only did we have a delicious meal, but we also have a delicious memory.

As local supermarkets started carrying more kosher items and meat, and as community members started ordering meat to be delivered from New York and other areas, Westville Kosher’s business shrank. Rachel said that they’re closing the business at the end of May, but that there may be other opportunities to sample her babaganoush, apple cake, schnitzel, and other delicacies in the future. She’s collecting email addresses to advertise cooking classes, and she’s working on a cookbook, too. I participated in a group cooking class (where we made the most delicious chocolate babka) with Rachel a few years ago.

If you’re like me, wondering where you will go now to buy your kosher meat, deli sandwiches, food for holidays, Israeli spices, and whatever else you turned to Westville Kosher to buy, a group is forming to explore options for Westville Kosher. Spearheaded by Jonathan Gordon, we will meet at the JCC on Tuesday, May 14 at 8 PM to start a group discussion. Please join us.