Nearly every day for the past two and a half weeks, a Flatbush resident has been enthusiastically sharing recipes with friends and admirers. This individual is not a mother or a bubby. He is a man with a long white beard: Dr. Yitzchok Levine, a retired mathematics professor and a Jewish Press columnist. His motive? To encourage Jews to eat gebrokts on Pesach.
“In the past many people ate gebrokts,” he told The Jewish Press. “It is only since Judaism has become chassidized that one sees an emphasis on not eating gebrokts.”
Earlier this month, Dr. Levine formed the “Committee to Encourage People to Eat Gebrokts” and has shared recipes for – among other dishes – apple cake, mushroom matzah casserole, Pesach mandel bread, Pesach pie crust, Pesach pancakes, and matzah balls. Around 180 people receive the recipes directly, but his e-mails are also seen on the Areivim listserv, he said.
Dr. Levine told The Jewish Press that reaction to his campaign has been mixed. Some applaud it while others, he said, “are disturbed by my ‘attack’ on the minhag of not eating gebrokts.” One chassidishe Jew, he said, wrote to him: “My wife thanks you for the recipes for the eighth day of Pesach.”
In his own family, though, there is no dissension. “Everyone in my family eats gebrokts,” he said. “There are no chassidim in my family.”