Rabbi Eliashiv Nafcha (second left) and his kashrut team and with General Manager Avner (third from right)

It is comforting to know there is a trusted rabbinical authority at the Waldorf-Astoria Jerusalem. Marking five years since the official opening ceremony of the hotel, 5TJT met 39-year-old Rabi Eliashiv Nafcha, who is in charge of one of the most important tasks, the kashrut in the kitchens, .

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born in Rehovot to an ultra-Orthodox family, to a father who was a commissioner in the Ministry of Education and was very close to some chareidi known authorities, like the Abu Hatzera family. Loving the Torah and a wish to be a gadol baTorah are virtues I got from my parents since childhood. I studied in Ohr Israel Yeshiva and later on in the Jerusalem’s Bayit V’gan Kol Torah yeshiva with respected rabbis like Rabbi Yehuda Schlesinger and Rabbi Shmuel Deutsch. I married Hadassah Falkivich of a most respected chassidic family from Romema, Jerusalem, and we have seven children.

How did you get into the hotel industry?

When I graduated the yeshiva, the Jerusalem Rabbinical council approached me and urged me to be involved in the new “Novotel” hotel, just opened in the city. I worked there for eight years as the hotel’s rabbi. When the New Waldorf-Astoria was built, I had a dream to work in this luxury hotel. When it was opened, I guess the council wanted the most qualified and trusted man for the job, and I accepted the challenge.

How does it work? How are the standards set?

Once I met the hotel management and the hotel owners, I set the appropriate standards. I was in charge of the hashgachah with my seven mashgichim. My standards are very strict. We are present in the hotel kitchens since 4 a.m. until they close all kitchens, after midnight. I am confident that the kashrut is strictly kept with devotion and hard work.

General Manager Avner On visiting Rabbi Shmaryahu Yosef Hayim Kanievsky, shlita

Give us examples how strict the hashgachah is at the Waldorf-Astoria Jerusalem.

Since the opening till this very day, the hashgachah is of glatt quality. The meat we use is supervised by Badatz Rubin, Badatz Kehilot, and Badatz Mehadrin Yerushalayim. No food and beverages are accepted in the hotel without my team’s authority. We set a separate room to wash all vegetables with a special liquid to make sure all is within glatt standards. We keep Shabbos and yom tov in mehadrin standards. Food for the relevant meals is stored in heating ovens and locked by my team. We do not heat food during Shabbos and yom tov.

Is this policy relevant till today?

Absolutely. These standards are kept. Hotel owners, a general manager, and management have changed over the years, but this glatt quality hashgachah is still valid and will continue for years to come.

What is the feedback from guests?

Just before this interview, I met a returning guest who encouraged me for the great supervision in the hotel and congratulated my team and myself. “There is no hotel like the Waldorf-Astoria Jerusalem, with such a combination of luxury and glatt quality supervision. It is our home in Israel,” he just said to me. Can there be better satisfaction than this?

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