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Azerbaijan: It is Kosher as Kosher Gets

The writer [front left], with hosts, dining at 7/40
The writer [front left], with hosts, dining at 7/40

The name of the restaurant is 7/40

The elegant ambiance and artistically decorated venue was given a name that has an interesting story to it.

The name ‘7/40’ is after a Russian-Jewish song – the Hebrew song ‘Hava Nagila – meaning, let us rejoice, played by Klezmer.

Klezmer is a musical tradition of the Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe, played by professional musicians called klezmorim in ensembles known as kapelye. The genre originally consisted largely of dance tunes and instrumental display pieces for weddings and other Jewish celebrations.

7/40 entrance

Klezmer-rock band was founded and lead by the singer of the band, Annette Ezekiel Kogan.

As the story goes, in 1991, Annette Ezekiel Kogan’s husband’s cousin emigrated from the Ukraine to America. His two desires in life were to be a doctor and live an orthodox Jewish life.

In the Ukraine he experienced much anti-Semitism and was forced to serve in the Soviet army, an antisemitism hotbed, but was the only way he could get into medical school. When he came to America, he indeed fulfilled both aspirations – he became a doctor and lived an orthodox Jewish life. So, this song, ‘7/40,’ is also about the opportunity to practice religion freely.

Apparently, every Russian Jew knows this song, which is played at every Russian Jewish celebration, but it is hardly known by Jews elsewhere.

Since Azerbaijan was part of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijani Jews had the opportunity to interact with Russian Jews and become familiar with the song ‘7/40’.

In Azerbaijan they practice religious freedom and humankind’s respect for each other like very few other countries do.

There could not be a better place to celebrate freedom that is resembled by the ‘7/40’ song and a restaurant in that name.

The writer [front left], with hosts, dining at 7/40

What Will a Patron Be Served in 7/40?

The restaurant, with a full bar and awaiting the first assorted kosher wines delivery, opens at 11:00 AM till 11:00 PM with the kitchen closing for orders at 10:00 PM.

7/40 logo

Moshe Moyseyev, who planned the décor and is the restaurant manager who studied Hebrew in a Yeshiva in Moscow, Russia, told me that they hired among the best chefs in the country. They created an interesting and creative menu to which I can attest.

The 7/40 restaurant that received its kosher certification from the strict Chabad movement and its very attentive waiters who, at a time will dance, is located in an area that some 20 years ago was considered to be a very Jewish neighborhood. Today, there are still many Jews living in the area, but it is no longer considered to be only Jewish neighborhood.

7-40 elegance
7/40 kosher certification

Azerbaijan Celebrates Humanity

As I walked out of the restaurant, the sound of Hebrew music came from the building across from 7/40. Inside the restaurant, to add to the lovely ambiance, one hears a compilation of Israeli and Jewish melodies.

With Azerbaijan making constant concerted efforts to treat people as people and not according to their religion, ethnic background, or political affiliation, it is easy for me to say that Azerbaijan is a great place to celebrate humanity and even greater place to celebrate being Jewish.

During the 2006 second Lebanon War, Nurit Greenger, referenced then as the “Accidental Reporter” felt compelled to become an activist. Being an ‘out-of-the-box thinker, Nurit is a passionately committed advocate for Jews, Israel, the United States, and the Free World in general. From Southern California, Nurit serves as a “one-woman Hasbarah army” for Israel who believes that if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.

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