Mar 16, 2013
Plate Served at Pizza Hot Spot
Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem at night * Photo: Mozesy2k

Big Apple, a go-to spot for Americans and tourists on Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem, has received a gift from a Lubavitcher.

By COLlive reporter

Israel can be pretty iffy when it comes to pizza.

Although pizza is as firmly entrenched in Israel as it is everywhere else, Israelis have failed to inherit the appropriate sensitivity to the fine art of pizza-making, notes the tourist website

Fortunately for pie-starved American residents and tourists, there's Big Apple Pizza, says the website and states that it is "as close as you'll come to pizza in the style of its namesake in Jerusalem."

Located just off Ben Yehuda Street in downtown Jerusalem, also known as the "Midrachov," the pizza shop offers quick service and an array toppings both familiar (mushrooms, olives) and slightly untraditional (corn).

Whether seated indoors or outdoors on the pedestrian-only street, Yeshiva bochurim, seminary students and locals can be seen enjoying a kosher l'mehadrin bite and a drink (they serve beer too).

One of their regulars are Levi Margolin, the Director of marketing and social media at Taglit-Birthright Israel: MAYANOT, the free trip service for Jewish students from the Diaspora.

He is often spotted there bringing friends, family and groups from the Mayanot trips, always pointing out the unique display of license plates from many states in the U.S. and several countries.

It is not clear how the tradition of tourists bringing in their plates from their vehicles back home began, but they sure blend in well under the wide counter over which customers bend over to watch the cheese sizzling in the oven.

Margolin wanted to add a contribution to the 'wall of fame'. So when his father, Rabbi Aron Margolin, the Chabad Shliach in Norfolk, Virginia visited Israel as a leader on a Mayanot trip, Levi reminded him of the plate he left behind.

Back in the day, the license plate reading "kosher" was used by Levi to encourage Jewish people to eat kosher, while he served as a Mashgiach at Norfolk's central Jewish campus. "It has since been retired and desperately needed a new display location," Levi Margolin said.

With Virginia being a "two-plate state," with plates required on both the front and back of cars, Margolin was able to bring one to Big Apple Pizza, while keeping another as a souvenir.

When the owner saw the plate, he asked: "Ze amiti?!" (is this real?). Upon learning that it was, he set out to find a worthy spot for it. After testing several locations, they relocated the framed kosher certification letter to be hung together with the "kosher plate."

"Donating the 'kosher plate' to a kosher establishment that specifically fancies license plates seemed so logical," Margolin said.

"It also strengthens the awareness of tourists that they are eating kosher and how good it can be. It's a lot of fun to bring people to Big Apple now."

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Opinions and Comments
Birth righter
Very good pizza
(3/16/2013 10:18:15 PM)
OMG that's soooooooo cute!!!!!!!!!
I LOVE big apple pizza!! It's the BEST pizza ever and now it's so awesome you have more license plate's lol
(3/17/2013 12:36:03 AM)
former londoner
beats any american pizza
(3/17/2013 12:47:58 AM)
Great. What's with the mivtza tefillin for Taglit and others if halachially permitted?
Every Jew is a "kosher slice" of Hashem!
-David Benveniste
(3/17/2013 3:45:51 AM)
went there and by far better us pizza
they have a plate with elvis on it
(3/17/2013 9:43:10 AM)
The best!!!
The best pizza by far. The only pizza i have when visiting Israel.
(3/17/2013 10:54:18 AM)
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