Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Make the exodus from non-kosher seders

It’s a shame that people gather for Passover seders that end up being not the slightest bit kosher and therefore not at all in the spirit of the joyous holiday that is so meaningful and central to the identity of the Jewish people.

I’m hardly the expert of tact. Nevertheless, seder guests unsure of their hosts’ kashrus (kosher) standards should ask the hosts: is your seder strictly kosher for Passover? The host should be able to answer emphatically “Yes” and explain:
1. The matzah to be used at the seder is kosher for Passover. That would seem to go without saying, but matzah sold year-round is not intended for Passover use. It says so on the box.
2. The meat (beef, chicken or both) is kosher-certified. (Passover certification is not necessary for kosher meat.)
3. The side dishes are raw materials, legume-free, or certified kosher-for-Passover.
4. The wine and soft drinks are certified kosher.
5. There are no dairy products on the table. If the seder is vegetarian, all dairy products are also certified kosher for Passover.
6. The kitchen, including the oven, was cleaned and kaschered prior to the seder.

If the host explains the meal will be like any other but without challah, then it’s not kosher, and guests should make other arrangements. Also carryout seder meals from “kosher-style” restaurants are not kosher. Here are two people who would be more than happy to host you:

Rabbi Yosef Moscowitz 773-772-3770
Rabbi Yochanan Posner 847-677-1770

Also Rabbi Zev Kahn can send you to a family who would be happy to host you: 773-817-4406.

1. I don’t know what to wear.
Men: shirt, tie and kipah. Ladies: skirt and blouse.
2. I won’t know anyone.
A great opportunity to network and meet others who may be experiencing a kosher seder for the first time.
3. I don’t know what to bring.
Supermarkets have packaged desserts in their Passover aisles; check for the circled “U” with the “P” next to it on the label.
3. I lost my Haggadah.
The hosts will be happy to lend you one. Also you can buy one from any bookstore.
4. I’m afraid it will run so late I won’t be able to go to work the next day.
Ask your boss if you can come in late due to the holiday.
5. I need to drive home.
Ask for grape juice instead of wine. And many hosts don’t insist on guests staying within walking distance.

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