It didn’t take long after Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner arrived in Washington for the couple to start hitting the town. She’s been spotted spoon-feeding her son oatmeal at Open City in Woodley Park and making the power breakfast rounds at the Four Seasons. He’s been spied enjoying deviled eggs and a beer at the bar of Founding Farmers and stopping by Dupont’s &pizza. Together, they’ve dined out at at least two Italian restaurants: Tosca and RPM Italian.
But given that Trump and Kushner are orthodox Jews, their dining choices have some murmuring: Wait, don’t they keep kosher??
Based on their dining destinations, it’s safe to say that the couple isn’t strictly observant.
“If you are very strict kosher, you’re not going to eat in any restaurant that’s not certified kosher,” says Lise Stern, author of How to Keep Kosher. For starters, non-kosher restaurants don’t use separate dishes and cookware for meat and dairy. They’re also likely not serving meat that was butchered in a kosher way. And of course there’s all the pork and shellfish.
However, many Jews who keep kosher at home will dine “kosher-style” in restaurants. What that means can vary by individual, but Stern says they’re likely not eating meat at all in restaurants. (Chefs at Tosca and RPM Italian declined to comment on what Kushner and Trump ate.)
That would seem to fit with how Trump described her diet to Vanity Fair in 2015, as she dined at Koi in the Trump SoHo hotel: “We don’t eat meat. . . . Or, well, we keep kosher.” She also said she avoids raw fish.
Sadly, the couple’s options are extremely limited if they wanted eat at kosher restaurants in DC. Maryland suburbs have a few options like Ben Yehuda Cafe and Pizzeria in Silver Spring and Cafe Shawreen in Rockville, while DC has Soupergirl and Char Bar. The District also has a kosher food truck: Brooklyn Sandwich Co.
Kushner and Trump aren’t the only high-profile politicos to have to navigate Washington’s barren kosher scene. Previously, former Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman was perhaps the most notable government official to keep kosher. Before the Dirksen Senate Office Building cafe added kosher meals in 2012, Lieberman told the Hill he maintained a very limited diet.
“I have a steady supply of granola bars, and Cliff bars, and salads,” he said. “A lot of salads.”