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April 19, 2015 / 30 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘matzah’

18 Minutes to Get it in the Oven

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

US Jews Crunch More Hand-Made Matzah

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

American Jews are increasingly buying more hand-made matzah as well as American-made manufactured matzah. All at the expense of Israeli exports, according to Kosher Today.

Israeli exports used to hold approximately 40 percent of the American market but has declined by 11 percent.

Sales of hand-made “shmurah matzah” have soared by nearly 15 percent.

One of the reasons for the decrease in exports of Israeli matzah, which once was 30 percent cheaper than those made in the United States,  has been a shrinking difference in prices.

The hand-made matzah is more expensive than machine-made matzah but has become more popular not only by more religious Jews but also by some secular Jews.

“While shmura matzah was believed to be at about 20 percent of national matzah sales, there are indications that it may be inching towards 30 percent. In domestic sales,” Kosher Today reported. Manischewitz remains the leading seller with Streit’s a strong second.

Anti-Terror Airport Squads Briefed on Tefillin and Matzah

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

The Transportation Security Administration has made its employees aware the Jews with a kippa and praying with tefillin are not necessarily terrorists.

This good news should help Jews relax when praying at the airport or on the airplane during the Passover holiday.

This is no laughing matter.

When a Jewish teen put on his tefillin and prayed on board a US Airways four years ago, the crew panicked and aborted the flight from LaGuardia Airport, landing in Philadelphia amid unfounded fears of a terrorist bomb.

The tefillin’s two small Scripture-filled boxes were a bit strange to the nervous crew. After all, they could be explosives inside. Or maybe a collapsible Uzi.

And those straps! There are two straps hanging down from the tefillin that are put on the head, and there is a strap on one arm, so who knows? Someone who never saw tefillin in his life could run away with his imagination and suspect that the straps could be wires from an explosive device.

The plane landed, and the boy, a lot more scared than the crew, was met by police, the FBI and bomb-sniffing dogs

And he didn’t even get a chance to pray.

A similar incident the following year caused the pilots of an Alaska Airlines flight to lock down the cockpit and alert authorities because of three Orthodox Jews with tefillin on the flight from Mexico City to Los Angeles.

When the same thing happened on a flight in New Zealand, the country’s Race Relations Commissioner said the armed response was unfortunate and showed “an exaggerated fear of terrorism.”

So this time, TSA is prepared and instructing staffers that tefillin are not bombs, the kippa is not designed to hide a bomb, and matzah is not a bomb.

“Our workforce is aware of the unique items carried by individuals and religious practices individuals may engage in while traveling,” said a TSA statement. This may include reading of religious text or participating in prayer rituals. Observant travelers may be wearing a head covering, prayer shawl, and phylacteries — in Hebrew, kippa, tallit, and tefillin.”

The TSA has also informed baggage inspectors to be careful with matzah packages.

Perhaps they have explained to them that matzah is not suspicious cardboard. Hopefully, workers understand that they are not to be munching on any cookies made with leavened bread when checking matzah packages

“Some travelers will be carrying boxes of matzah, which are consumed as part of the Passover ritual. Matzah can be machine or handmade and are typically very thin and fragile, and break easily,

“Passengers traveling with religious items, including handmade matzah, may request a hand inspection by the TSO of the items at the security checkpoint.” TSO is the abbreviation for Transport Security Officer.

Agudath Israel of America, an umbrella group for Orthodox congregations, expressed its “profound thanks” for the notice, stating that the agency has been deeply sensitive to our community’s needs and concerns on this and many issues.”

But if a worker does accidentally break a matzah in half, who gets the Afikomen

(JTA contributed to this report.)

Below is the TV report of the tefillin-bomb scare four years ago.

Assembly Line

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

You don’t need to be a Prime Minister to make Matzah.

Russian Jewish Group Offers Free Matzah

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

The Russian Jewish Congress has partnered with one of the country’s leading Internet companies to deliver free matzah to Muscovite Jews. The only cost to recipients will be the price of the delivery.

The collaboration with the online marketing giant Vigoda.ru will allow the Jewish organization to send two million emails on Thursday in the hope that the offer will help introduce matzah to the homes of young professionals who would otherwise not get them.

“The idea is to reach out to young and secular Jews and to reintroduce or sometimes introduce this basic custom of Judaism,” Matvey Chlenov, the RJC’s deputy executive director, told JTA. “Like most Muscovites, they are busy with careers and raising children and will often not take the effort to spend two-three hours in Moscow’s notorious traffic jams to get to a handful of places where matzot are on sale.”

The emails that are meant to place matzah on the menu this Passover were sent through Vigoda.ru, a Russian website and company that, similar to the American website Groupon, offers various deals for reduced prices in a daily email that it sends to a large number of people.

The Russian Jewish Congress has stocked up on a ton of matzah it hopes to give out with help from Vigoda and through the organization’s own campaign on social media.

David Shostak, co-owner and CEO of Vigoda, said his firm decided to include the Russian Jewish Congress’ offer in an email to two million recipients in Moscow as “a service to the community.” Shostak, who speaks Hebrew, said he runs the company from Moscow but travels often to Israel.

Passover 5773-2013 Is Around the Corner

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Following is the essential Passover set of reminders, if you will. We strongly recommend that you consult a rabbi or a friend or a friendly rabbi for any one of these items which may cause you anxiety. Obviously, one can spend all the time starting after Hanukah in preparation for Passover, but most of us don’t.

Passover—Pesach, the Jewish festival celebrating our redemption from slavery in Egypt in the 1250s BCE, begins on the 14th day of the month of Nisan in the Jewish calendar, which is in spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and this year begins at sunset, Monday, March 25.

Passover  is celebrated for seven days in Israel, eight days everywhere else. It is one of the top four Jewish holidays celebrated in America, alongside Hanukah, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur.

Passover-Pesach is unique among the holidays on the Jewish calendar in its prohibition against chametz, which is defined as five types of grains that have been combined with water and left to stand for more than eighteen minutes—the renowned “leavening” or fermentation. This includes bread and cake, but also a very long list of products, not all of them foodstuff.

The consumption, keeping, and owning of chametz is forbidden during Passover.

A typical observant Jewish home combines several means of dealing with this prohibition (you’ll be amazed how much of your physical space is mired in chametz):

1. A thorough scrubbing of all the areas in the home where food will be produced or consumed. The ground rule here is that the chametz should be removed in a manner similar to the way it was introduced—if it was through heat, then the particular utensil should be cleaned and heated for a period of up to one hour, and so on.

2. Covering all the areas where food is produced or consumed with paper, plastic, or aluminum foil sheets.

3. Storing all the chametz products of value (think single malt whiskey) in designated areas which are sealed until after Passover. Those areas are then sold through a special broker to a gentile for the duration of the holiday. You can also do it over the Internet, check out any one of these chametz sale websites.

4. On the eve of Passover, the head of the family checks the entire domicile for chametz, after which they recite an announcement that any chametz stuff that has not been discovered and eliminated no longer belongs to them (see it in the early pages of your Passover Haggadah).

After sunset, Monday, March 25, we all sit down around the seder table, to read the Haggadah, drink 4 cups of wine and eat our first bite of Matzah. This should take us well into the night, when we eat the Afikoman.

If you’re in the diaspora, you get to do the whole thing a second time on Tuesday evening. In Israel you enter the Chol Hamoed-intermediary days of Passover a day early. The holiday will be over in Israel on Monday night, April 1, and elsewhere on Tuesday night, April 2.

Please use the comments to add anything we may have skipped – remember, we were shooting for the essentials.

Gentile Prisoners Suddenly Become Jewish for Kosher Food

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

The York, Pennsylvania prison has recorded a sudden upsurge in “Jewish” prisoners, along with a much higher food budget following their demands for kosher food.

The law requires serving kosher food to Jews who request it, but that does not cover the non-Jews. Kosher food has to be prepared outside the prison and costs up to four times the price of a non-kosher meal. Multiply the difference by the 140 “kosher” prisoners and the result is an additional $100,000 a month.

Acting York County Solicitor Donald Reihart said during a recent prison board meeting that the prisoners think kosher food is better, which may or may not be the case.

Rabbi Jeffrey Astrachan of York’s Temple Beth Israel, York’s largest Jewish congregation, told York media, “It’s more expensive to prepare a kosher meal because of the processes that are involved with the slaughtering and the preparation of the food, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the food is any better.

“You could give someone two pieces of bread and a piece of cheese and that could be a kosher meal. It doesn’t mean you’re going to get some brisket or matzo ball soup. They could get a kosher meal that still tastes horrible.”

His congregation has approximately 600 people, one percent of whom keep kosher, he added. There is no orthodox Jewish synagogue in the city, so that leaves the question of how many “outsiders” in the prison are Jewish, which has a population of approximately 2,400. Nearly 1 percent claim they are Jewish, which means there are a whole lot of Jews from elsewhere, or more likely, there are a lot of fakes.

Prison officials are trying to figure out to solve the problem. Some of the Jewish wanabees give themselves away quickly, switching back and forth every so often from kosher to non-kosher meals. Apparently, they just can’t give up the bacon and eggs.

A “circumcision check” would not solve the problem because there are plenty of non-Jews who are circumcised. On the other hand, prison officials could tell those who are not circumcised and who claim they are Jewish that they must get a quick operation on you know where. That would probably work.

That the leaves the question of those who are circumcised but are not Jewish. Their birth certificates could be checked, but then there is the question of those who claim they converted.

Linda Seligson, the cultural director at York’s Jewish Community Center, has an even better idea to get rid of the phony Jews. Simply wait for Passover and see how many of the inmates can get along eating matzah for eight days and sticking to a diet of potatoes and more potatoes because of the Ashkenazi restriction on eating “kitniyot,” such as corn and other grains.

So much for the “food of freedom” for prisoners.

But what about the Sephardim, who do not hold by that custom?

York Daily Record columnist Mike Argento has a better solution. He reminds readers that being a Jew is not all matzo balls and gravy.

If the inmates stay Jewish long enough, they will encounter anti-Semitism, and then the prison budget will go back to where it was.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/goy-prisoners-suddenly-become-jewish-for-kosher-food/2013/02/26/

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