web analytics
September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Passover’

New Study: Nearly Every Israeli will Eat Matza and Keep Kosher on Pesach Eve

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

90% of Israeli Jews will participate in a Passover Seder, 80% of self-defined secular Jews said they believe in God, according to a study done by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.

While 55% said they would make sure to only eat kosher during the entire holiday, nearly all said they would make sure to eat Matzah and only kosher food on Pesach night.

Those are some pretty good numbers.

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.

Passover Guide for the Perplexed, 2014

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

1.  The Passover legacy constitutes the foundation of Judaism, and is therefore included in most Jewish blessings (“in memory of the Exodus”).  Passover symbolizes the rejuvenation of nature and mankind, spiritually and physically, individually and collectively/nationally.  Passover stipulates that human rejuvenation – just like the rejuvenation of nature – must be driven by memory/history/roots.   Therefore, parents are instructed to educate their children about the lessons of Passover. Passover was an early – and much more successful – edition of the (19th century) Spring of Nations.  It is celebrated in the spring, the bud of nature.  The biblical scroll of Song of Songs, which highlights spring, is read during Passover.  Spring, Aviv in Hebrew (אביב) consists of two Hebrew words: Father – אב - of 12 – יב – months/tribes.  Spring is mentioned 3 times in the Torah, all in reference to the Exodus.  Passover – which commemorates the creation of the Jewish nation – lasts seven days, just like the creation of the universe.

2.  Passover is the oldest Jewish national liberation holiday, highlighting the comprehensive nature of Judaism: religion, nationality, culture/morality, language and history.  Passover underlines the centrality of spiritual, physical, individual and national liberty and optimism, playing a critical role in preserving Judaism, Jews and the yearning to reconstruct the Jewish Homeland during the super-challenging 40 years in the desert and the 2,500 years of exiles, destruction, pogroms, the Holocaust, wars and terrorism.

Passover – the role model of faith, education, morality, responsibility and governance driven liberty – interacts with Shavou’ot/Pentecost – the role model of morality. Liberty and morality are mutually-inclusive.  The interdependence of liberty and morality distinguishes Western democracies from rogue regimes – a clash of civilizations.

The Hebrew word for “responsibility” – אחריות – encompasses the word “liberty” – חירות.  It begins with the leading letter in the Hebrew alphabet, א, and ends with the last letter of the alphabet, ת – encompassing the total responsibility of leadership.

The Exodus is mentioned 50 times in the Torah, equal to the 50 years of the Jubilee, a time of liberation. 50 days following the Exodus, Moses received the Torah (the Pentecost Holiday), which includes – according to Jewish tradition – 50 gates of Wisdom.  What does that mean for the 50 States in the USA, whose Hebrew name is ארצות הברית – the States of the Covenant?!

According to Heinrich Heine, the 19th century German poet, “Since the Exodus, freedom has always spoken with a Hebrew accent.”

3. Passover, and especially the Exodus/Liberty, were the pillars of fire guiding the twelve tribes of Israel, and the thirteen American colonies, from subjugation to sovereignty. The Passover legacy comprises a critical part of the American story. Moses, the US Founding Fathers and Israel’s Founding Father, Ben Gurion, were challenged by the “loyalists,” who were intimidated by the price/sacrifice of liberty, preferring subjugation to Egypt, the British King and the British Mandate. They featured in prior editions of the clash of civilizations against Pharaoh, the British monarchy and church and the Arab/Muslim world.  The latter still rejects non-Muslim (“infidel”) sovereignty in any area considered – by Muslims – to be the abode of Islam (e.g., Spain and Portugal, southern France, Israel, etc.).

4.  Passover’s centrality in the American culture, state of mind and ethos has been evident from the 17th century Pilgrims and the 18th century Founding Fathers, until today. The Pilgrims considered Britain “the modern day Egypt,” the British king was “the modern day Pharaoh,” the sail through the Atlantic Ocean was “the modern day parting of the sea” and America was “the modern day Promised Land/New Canaan.” In 1775, the president of Harvard University, Samuel Langdon, said that “the Jewish government [that God handed down to Moses] was a perfect republic.” Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense (the cement of the 1776 Revolution) referred to King George as “the hardened, sullen tempered Pharaoh of England.”  The root of the term Federalism is “Foedus,” the Latin word for “The Covenant.” The Founding Fathers studied the political structure of the semi-independent 12 Tribes (the colonies), which were governed by tribal presidents (the governors) and by Moses (the Executive), Aaron (the Judiciary) and the 70 Elders (the Legislature). John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin proposed the “Parting of the Sea” as the official US seal. George Washington and John Adams, the first and second presidents, were compared to Moses and Joshua. Washington was eulogized as Moses and Virginia was compared to Goshen.

Is it Time to Abandon Kitniyot?

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Rabbi David Bar-Hayim of Machon Shiloh, in this video, argues that it is time for Ashkenazim to abandon the prohibition against eating Kitnyot (legumes) on Pesach.

After hearing his argument, what do you think?

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.

Manischewitz Sold to Equity Firm

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

The Manischewitz Company, well known for its wine and Passover foods, has been sold a week before the Passover holiday.

Sankaty Advisors, an arm of the private equity firm Bain Capital, purchased the Newark, N.J.-based purveyor of kosher foods for an undisclosed price, the Associated Press reported Tuesday, less than a day after the deal had been first disclosed by The New York Times.

Under its new owner, Manischewitz is expected to promote kosher as an indication of quality food rather than just a religious designation, according to the Times.

“This investment reflects our confidence in the Manischewitz brands and team,” Sankaty Advisors said in a statement last week. “Manischewitz has earned a position as one of the most highly recognized brands in the world, and it has distinguished itself through a passionate commitment to producing the highest quality kosher products possible. We believe Manischewitz is well positioned to grow due to rising mainstream interest in kosher foods.”

Decades ago, Manischewitz was virtually the only wine that was poured into cups at the Shabbat table every Friday night and for the Seder on the first night of Passover.

Its unbelievably sweet Concord wine made it the butt of jokes, but since there was not much else around in the kosher wine business, the sticky liquid was accepted as the standard.

The Manischewitz Company  was founded by Rabbi Dov Behr Manischewitz, in 1888. It later began producing matzo, gefilte fish and borscht.

“Manischewitz has earned a position as one of the most highly recognized brands in the world, and it has distinguished itself through a passionate commitment to producing the highest quality kosher products possible,” Sankaty Advisors said in a statement, disclosing no terms of the deal.

JTA contributed to this report.

Shiloh’s Children Hard at Work Baking Matzohs

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Even as their parents are scrubbing and fixing and rearranging their homes in time for Passover, children in the Jewish community of Shiloh are working as well – making matzohs.

The community, located in the Binyamin region near Samaria, has a 20-year tradition of allowing its children the privilege of baking matzohs just before the Passover holiday.

During the process the children learn the special laws of the holiday while enjoying the practical aspects of preparing matzohs.

The original ancient city of Shiloh, mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, is situated at the modern Khirbet Seilun, south of Tirzah, 10 miles north of the Jewish community of Beit El in Samaria (Shomron).

Shiloh was the official capital of the ancient nation of Israel before the First Holy Temple was built in Jerusalem. It was located north of Beit El and is mentioned in the Book of Joshua and in Judges.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/shilohs-children-hard-at-work-baking-matzohs/2014/04/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: