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Reflections From A Jew At A Mock-Jewish Restaurant

On a trip to explore her Jewish-Ukrainian roots, one writer made a stop at a controversial Jewish-themed restaurant, where guests are served matzo at every meal and invited to haggle for their checks.
A collage wall at the Golden Rose restaurant in Lviv, Ukraine. Source: Alex Schmidt

At the Golden Rose restaurant in Lviv, Ukraine, your non-Jewish host and servers will do their utmost to surround you with purportedly Jewish touches. You'll be greeted with a wan "Shalom" as you enter, a waiter will sometimes appear in peyes (Jewish sidelocks) and kippah (head covering), and you'll be invited to haggle for your check.

It may seem odd that I decided to visit this restaurant on a recent trip to explore some of my family's roots. I expected to feel offended by its caricatures of Jews, and, by extension, myself. But the Golden Rose turned out to be more complex than it first appeared. In fact, this whole trip was a complex undertaking.

According to my family's Ukrainian guide, Alex Dunai, the two main reasons people give for visiting the decimated Jewish towns of their ancestors in Eastern Europe are curiosity and a desire to pay respects. I'm not sure I was clear on my

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