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Jewish Travel: Switzerland

Zurich, Switzerland, Jewish travel, kosher hotels and restaurants

ABOVE: Zürich, Switzerland has a Jewish population of 7,000. Kosher businesses for tourists include a meat restaurant, a dairy restaurant, and a hotel that serves kosher breakfasts.

Switzerland is largely a Protestant and Catholic nation, with a Jewish population estimated at less than 20,000 or about 0.3% of the country's residents. The largest concentrations of Swiss Jews are in Zürich (7,000), Geneva (4,500), and (Basel (2,800). HaGalil's Judische Gemeinden page reports that some 2/3 of Switzerland's Jewish population lives in German-speaking areas.

Not surprisingly, kosher facilities for Orthodox and other tradition-minded Jewish travelers are in short supply. Still, it is possible to find kosher restaurants and food stores in Switzerland, and synagogues and mikvahs exist in places where you might not expect to find them--as you'll see when you click on the links below.

General information

Swissjews.ch
The Swiss Jewish Federation  (SIG/FSCI) Web site is a good starting point for learning about Jewish life and events in Switzerland.

Kosher Hotels and Restaurants

Levin's Hotel Metropol, Arosa
This long-established hotel is in a popular skiing and summer resort.

Olive Garden Restaurant, Zürich
Don't confuse this with the American chain restaurants of the same name: Zürich's Olive Garden is a kosher establishment that opened in 2011. It's located in the ICZ Jewish community center (see link under "Jewish Communities").

Kosher in Switzerland
Looking for kosher products? SIG/FSCI (see link above) lists stores, restaurants, hotels, and online vendors.

Shamash Kosher Restaurant Database
In the "Metropolitan Area" window, scroll down to "Switzerland" for listings and reviews of kosher establishments in Swiss cities.

Publications

Tachles
Switzerland's Jewish weekly magazine is in German, but you can translate with Google.

Jewish Communities

Chabad Schweiz
Among other things, this English-language Messianic Jewish site has a "Jewish Tourist Information for Zürich" page with kosher business listings.

Jewish Cultural Community of Zürich (ICZ)
The Web site of the Israelitischen Cultusgemeinde Zürich is mostly of interest to residents, but it does list prayer times and other services in English on its synagogue page.

Schools

Jüdische Schule NOAM, Zürich
The Noam is a "religious-run, government-approved Jewish primary and secondary school" that combines secular education with Jewish learning. (Jewish subjects are taught in Hebrew.)

Tours

Kesher Kosher Tours
This tour agency in New York City offers tours that combine European travel with kosher meals and services at local synagogues. Some of the tours include Switzerland.