Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Passover is no longer a challenge

According to the New York Times , a lot of foods that used to be forbidden on Passover are now permitted.

The biblical prohibition against leavened bread at Passover — which begins on Wednesday night — has kept observant Jews from using any leavening at all. Cakes and cookies of matzo meal (ground matzo), matzo cake meal (which is more finely ground) and nuts can be tasty, but dense.

So it will surprise many Jews — it certainly surprised me — that among the profusion of products that most Orthodox certification agencies have approved for Passover are not just baking soda, but also baking powder.

Some rabbis are lifting other dietary prohibitions that they say were based on misunderstandings or overly cautious interpretations of biblical sanctions, and because they want to simplify the observance.

"The holiday has become overly complicated, and people are turning away from the rigorous practice of it," said Rabbi Jeffrey A. Wohlberg, the senior rabbi at conservative Adas Israel Congregation in Washington.

Wow! This will be a shock to the OCD-orthodox in my family--the ones who have two dishwashers, one for dairy and one for meat. They are famous for carrying Passover to the next level of possibility: cleaning their ovens with a blowtorch, seeking out not just Kosher butter but Kosher for Passover butter. Their matzoh of choice is shmura matzoh, which is even more tasteless than the regular stuff. And they would never eat egg matzoh--it is made for heretics and goyim.

Half the fun of Passover is being more observant than the next guy.

So--baking powder?

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