Keeping Kosher in Scandinavia

The Jewish communities of the 5 Scandinavian countries each have their own unique history, customs, and personalities. As you explore them, you are bound to discover many interesting facts about them. Did you know, for example, that the community of Trondhein, Norway, starts Shabbat and Yom tov at 5:30 PM and ends it at 6:30 PM regardless of when the sun rises and sets? This is because it is one of the northernmost Jewish communities in the world, and daylight hours vary greatly here depending on the time of year. Around the winter solstice, sunset can even occur as early as 2:30 pm.

As you explore the Jewish communities of Scandinavia, here are some tips for keeping kosher:

Norway- Since shechita is forbidden in Norway, kosher meat is not easy to come by. Kosher meat is not available at all in Trondheim. There is, however, a kosher meat shop near the synagogue in Oslo. Kosher cheese and bread are widely available in shops here, and you can also find a kosher wine called Adom Atic in the state wine shops. Kosher breads made by a company called Den Gode Landhandel are available in health food shops.

Sweden- Stockholm is at the center of the Jewish community in Sweden. Here you will find several different kosher restaurants, including a meat and pareve burger restaurant, and a Kosherian that serves light fare like sandwiches and chips in addition to being a small food mart. The Chabad Lubavitch of Stockholm also has a variety of kosher resources available, and serves a kosher lunch (that requires advance reservations) on weekdays.

Iceland- Iceland, with the smallest Jewish population in the world consisting of only about a dozen people, does not have any kosher restaurants. The diversity of the city of Reykjavic does provide dining options, however. There are several vegetarian restaurants in the city that provide good dining options for Jewish travelers. Additionally, a lot of the food is imported from Britain and Norway, which means that you can find some basics such as locally produced spices, lox, and walsa bread crackers, as well as imported cereal and cookies.

Finland- An excellent source for kosher food within Finland is Avi’s Deli in Helsinki. The owner, Avi, can arrange to have kosher catering delivered to any location within Finland. Contact the restaurant in advance to arrange to have kosher food, including Shabbat meals, delivered to you.

Denmark- You’ll find an array of kosher resources throughout Denmark. The city of Copenhagen has a kosher market called Samson Market. (As they tend to keep unusual hours, it is recommended that you call in advance.) A vegetarian restaurant called RizRaz can be found here too, and is frequented by many locals. Don’t forget to ask which dishes have dairy in them and which do not- there are plenty that don’t. Traveling just about an hour north of Copenhagen, you’ll find a Glatt Kosher Hotel called the Villa Strand. Chabad of Denmark offers Shabbat meals as well.

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