An Overview By Rabbi Eve Posen
In Every Generation—Passover 5782
“This is a commandment for every generation.” When the Israelites are preparing to leave Egypt they receive a multitude of instructions. Cook this, pack that, put blood hear, eat this together. One instruction stands out beyond them all. Before they know what will happen, before the parting of the sea, before they receive manna or the 10 commandments God tells them that these laws, “don’t see, touch or own chametz during Pesach will be for all generations in all time.” This is not said about the laws of kashrut or land ownership. Passover, the act of walking forward, of showing faith in acting together as a community, is the master story of the Jewish people because it has sustained us and been sustained from every generation. The traditions may have changed or expanded over the years, but the intent and meaning of the holiday, steeped in the hope of a brighter future.
As we enter our third Passover with the uncertainty of this pandemic we are reminded that in every generation, we are to see ourselves as though we have walked personally out of Egypt. May we walk forward in that power of ritual to bring comfort and the promise of walking out of the narrowness of Egypt and this pandemic into the brightness of our world.
Passover During COVID-19
Many of the ritual leniencies our community permitted last year still seem appropriate for this year’s observance of Passover. There are times when being punctilious is sometimes the better course of action, both in ritual matters and elsewhere. Such diligence can make us feel that we are “doing it right” or help us connect with God and tradition.
During these times, following the lenient stream of our tradition will remain the best course for many of us. The following guidelines are halakhic, traditional, and tailored for life under pandemic.
Keep it Simple: Observe Pesach During COVID-19
This year, it is appropriate to do the minimum necessary to prepare for Passover. Cleaning your entire house is not necessary. Instead, focus on the kitchen, and make sure you nullify additional hametz with the prayer found in the beginning of most haggadot.
Put the rest of your unused hametz (food items made from wheat, oats, barley, rye or spelt, even if these ingredients appear in the smallest possible amount.) in a closet and sell those items to Rabbi Kosak.
The Rabbinical Assembly is encouraging all Conservative Jews to eat kitniyot this year (pulses, legumes, rice, etc) to ease observance and reduce financial hardship. I also believe we need to limit financial outlays when employment is lost or uncertain.
In this regard:
- Purchase tofu, rice, and beans before the holiday.
- All unflavored coffee, black, green, and white teas are acceptable—including decaffeinated. For those interested in the reasoning, please see the bottom of this message.*
- Opened spices that would otherwise be ok for Passover consumption are acceptable to use this year. One does not need to purchase new, unopened spices.
This year, you can click here for the Rabbinical Assembly’s more thorough instructions for Passover 2022, as well as a link to the CJLS Passover guide, which remains largely unchanged from last year.
Let me wish you all a happy, meaningful, and kosher Passover.
A Zissen Pesach.
*Decaffeinated Coffee and Tea
While the RA still does not permit unhekshered decaffeinated coffee and tea for Passover, I hold it is permissible when purchased before the holiday begins. Below are the reasons for that decision. When creating a leniency of this sort, it is important that this does not occur in isolation; I vetted this with one of the three top poskim, or religious decisors, in the movement who agrees with my conclusions.
- The chemicals used to decaffeinate coffee or tea (ethyl acetate, methylene chloride, CO2 and water) are not themselves food items–EVEN IF SOURCED FROM CHAMETZ BASED INGREDIENTS.
- They do not therefore qualify as achilat kelev—food suitable for a dog. This is the minimum requirement for something to be considered food and therefore subject to kashrut restrictions.
- The chemicals are not davar ma’amid–they are not necessary or intended to remain in the decaffeinated coffee, in the way that rennet or gelatin is.
- The manufacturers don’t want the ingredient to remain, they merely wish to sell decaffeinated coffee or tea. So should these ingredients remain after processing, they are nullified by the manufacturers’ intentions.
- The chemicals used are targeted, as best as science permits, to the caffeine, and not other flavor elements, and it is the caffeine that is being removed.
- The chemicals themselves, if formed from hametz-based ingredients, are themselves davar chadash, or a new substance, and thus can’t in any way be considered as chametz.
- An observant Jew who purchases decaffeinated coffee or tea BEFORE Pesach also would not wish any slight remaining ingredient to be present, and it would thus be nullified by the buyer’s intention of batel b’shishim.
Shtar Harsha’ah: Document of Authorization for the Sale of Hametz
Passover 5782: Information
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CNS Pesach 5782 Home Hospitality – Friday/Saturday, April 15 & 16, 2022
Please let us know by Friday, April 8, 12:00pm
“Let all who are hungry come and eat!”
Need a place to celebrate Pesach? Have an extra seat at your seder table? Help make sure no one in our community feels like a stranger this Passover.
If you are interested in sharing your seder (either virtually or at your home), please provide information by clicking here.
If you are interested in attending a seder, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This collection is now closed! Thanks to all who participated!
Boxes of Matzah and Dessert Needed for JFCS’ Tikvah Group
Drop off by Thursday, April 7
Neveh Shalom is supporting Tikvah*, JFCS’s group for adults with disabilities, in collecting boxes of matzoh and pre-packaged, Kosher for Pesach desserts (macaroons, kosher for Passover chocolate, etc) by Thursday, April 7. If you’re interested in contributing to this effort, please drop your donations off at the office during business hours. If you have any questions, please contact Program Director Lisa Richmond at email@example.com.
*Tikvah is JFCS’s social group for adults with disabilities, ages 18 and older. We welcome anyone with any kind of disability including, but not limited to, mental health disabilities, physical disabilities, and intellectual/developmental disabilities. Tikvah members engage in social, educational, and creative activities facilitated by JFCS twice a month. For more information about Tikvah, please visit their website: https://www.jfcs-portland.org/services/disability-support-services/
Meal purchasing is now closed.
Passover Meals To Go – Order from Century Catering
Order by April 10
Allen Levin & the Crew at Century Catering/Cafe at the J are providing Passover meals for purchase. Click here to order.
Friday, April 15, Time: 7:00am as part of Morning Minyan on Zoom
On the morning of the Pesach seder, firstborn children are required to fast in commemoration of the firstborn Egyptians who lost their lives during the tenth plague. Our fasting beautifully demonstrates our compassion even for our enemies. That said, we have another tradition to mark when we complete a book of Jewish learning with a celebratory meal. This “siyyum” overrides the fast for those who attend the study session. This year we will be learning with Rabbi Emily Aviva Kapor-Mater, Founding Rabbi of Portland Open Beit Midrash
Passover Service Information
Candle lighting: 4/15: 7:39pm | 4/16: 8:45pm | 4/17: 8:47pm (Havdallah) | 4/21: 7:46pm | 4/22: 7:48pm | 4/23: 8:55pm (Havdallah)
- Shabbat Pesach Day 1 Service – Saturday, April 16, 9:30am – Main Sanctuary/Livestream
- Pesach Day 2 Service – Sunday, April 17, 9:00am – Stampfer Chapel/Livestream & Zoom
- Morning Minyan Chol HaMoed Pesach –
- Morning Minyan Chol HaMoed Pesach – Monday-Thursday, April 18-21, 7:00am – Stampfer Chapel/Livestream & Zoom
- *Pesach Day 7 Service – Friday, April 22, 9:00am, Stampfer Chapel/Livestream (There is no Zoom option for this service)
- Shabbat Pesach Day 8 Service & Yizkor – Saturday, April 23, 9:30am, Stampfer Chapel/Livestream & Zoom
Try a New Dish for Passover
The Feldstein Library has a collection of Passover cookbooks for all kinds of tastes. Below is just a sample. Come and check one out!
- Passover Lite: Kosher Cookbook by Gail Ashkanazi-Hankin features almost 200 recipes that are delicious, Passover-observant, healthy, and easy to make.
- In Passover by Design by Susie Fishbein, you can find elegant and imaginative Passover recipes, as well as ideas for setting a fun and beautiful seder table. Over 130 of the recipes are also gluten-free.
- Perfect for Pesach by Naomi Nachman, presents easy recipes that use innovative flavor combinations to create fabulous gourmet dishes that you’ll want to cook all year.
- Zell Schulman’s Let my People Eat! offers a guide for those who may be less familiar with preparing for Pesach and running a seder. Besides yummy recipes, her book includes “lists, explanations, and sources for everything from ceremonial objects to stocking your Passover pantry.”