Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ukraine: Restaurant patrons dress up as Jews, haggle over prices

Patrons having a time at the restaurant,
At the Golden Rose, in L'viv. (Yurij Nazaruk/Courtesy)

Just 31, Nazaruk, is a marketing savant who came up with the idea of using nationalist mythology to provide themes for a chain of 15 restaurants around the city. 

Nazaruk has also opened another, more controversial restaurant named At the Golden Rose. It’s adjacent to the site of what had been L'viv's Golden Rose synagogue, a 350-year-old house of worship that was destroyed by the Nazis.

At the restaurant, patrons are given hats with sidecurls intended to mimic those worn by Orthodox Jewish men. There are no prices on the menu. Diners must haggle with the waiter over how much to pay.

Asked if he understands why this is offensive, especially since almost all of L’viv’s Jewish residents were murdered, Nazaruk shrugs.

“More Ukrainians died in the war than Jews,” he said. “Bargaining over prices? It's the truth. But you must make it positive. We're not just dealing in anti-Semitic stereotypes."
He added, "When Ukrainians come to this restaurant, they see pictures drawn by Bruno Schulz and they read about Joseph Roth. [Both Jewish, Schulz was a writer and artist, and Roth a journalist and author]. This is very positive."

”It is an insult for every Jew," said Betty Rechister, the English-speaking member of a leading family in the city's tiny Jewish community. "Jews do not go there."

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