Passover.  Together we celebrate the Exodus.

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Passover

Passover (Hebrew: פֶּסַח Pesach) commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nissan in the Jewish calendar, which is in spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and is celebrated for seven (7) or eight (8) days. It is one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays. source http://www.hebcal.com/

Passover Holiday Guide

Click on the image for ideas & inspiration

March 30 - April 7, 2018

Selling your Hametz - PDF form. All forms due by March 29th

Thursday, March 29th - Search for Hametz
(click here for the prayers you recite before and after the search)

Friday, March 30th - Erev Pesah
Fast of the First Born

Siyum Behorim Service @ 6:45 am
No services tonight

Passover Services

Saturday, March 31st
Passover & Shabbat Service @ 9:00 am

Sunday, April 1st
Passover Service @ 9:30 am
No JLC

Friday, April 6th
Office Closed
Passover Service @ 9:30 am

Saturday, April 7th
Shabbat, Passover and Yizkor Service @ 9:00 am

 


Searching For Hametz by Rabbi David Kornberg

Telling The Story by Rabbi David Kornberg


Letter from Rabbi Kornberg,
April 2016


 

 Dear Beth Am Families:
 
With the approach of Passover, we begin to think about cleaning our homes and removing the Hametz from both our physical and spiritual lives. This biblical commandment has been the basis of volumes of rabbinic literature detailing how, why, and what constitutes the Hametz we are to remove.  For many of us who grew up in Ashkenazi tradition, there is an additional group of foods from which we refrain.  They are known as Kitniyot, and they include rice, corn, beans and legumes.  Those who have been raised with Sephardic traditions have continued to eat these foods on Pesah throughout history, but, from the Middle Ages, the Ashkenazic world considered them to be forbidden.
 
In 1989, Rabbi David Golinkin wrote a Responsa for the Masorti Movement in Israel (the equivalent of the Conservative Movement in the US) arguing that Kitniyot were in fact allowed to be eaten on Passover by everyone, not just Sepharadi Jews. While this began a discussion about the issue in North America as well, that Responsa was only written to pertain to Israel. This past December, the question was brought before the Committee on Jewish Laws and Standards of the Conservative Movement with some minor modifications, and it was approved by a vote of 15-3-4. The conclusion that was arrived at, once again, was that Ashkenazi Jews should be allowed to eat Kitniyot.
 
I am sharing this with you as we approach this Passover season because I find Rabbi Golinkin’s arguments to be sound and convincing. Although I have always observed Pesah by refraining from Kitniyot, I believe the time has come to make a change in this custom. There are a number of different arguments that Rabbi Golinkin makes, and for those who wish to see the entire Responsa, I have attached it to this e-mail. I would like to share with you, however, the reasons that I believe he is right to make this change.
 
  • The first source that mentions the practice of not eating Kitniyot on Pesah is dated back to Provence, France in the 13th century. From here, it spread throughout the Ashkenazi world.
  • In fact, this practice is in direct contradiction to an explicit decision in the Babylonian Talmud, and it is going against the opinion of all of the rabbis in the Mishnah and Talmud with the exception of one minority opinion.
  • As we look back at the question of Kitniyot in our tradition, we find that the prohibition of Kitniyot was not originally connected to Passover alone. There was a clear practice not to eat Kitniyot on any of the three Pilgrimage Festivals, the reasoning being that these foods were seen as less expensive and lesser quality (something we would avoid in celebrating a Festival). 
  • Rabbi Golinkin argues that for these reasons, this custom came about in error, and it is a “mistaken custom.”  He shows a substantial number of precedents where erroneous rulings have been overturned, especially when it has created an unnecessary stringency.
  • He further argues that this stringency detracts from the possible joy and celebration of Passover by greatly limiting the number of foods we are allowed to eat.
 
We can add to the above reasons the powerful concept of Klal Yisrael -- the idea that we are one people. With so many things dividing us, we do not need to artificially maintain divisions that are unnecessary. The more ways we can find to bring Jews together (and food has always been good at that), the more we build bridges and create strength within our communities.
 
For all of these reasons, the prohibition against eating Kitniyot on Passover should be abolished. That being said, there is still a need to be cautious. The requirement for a “Kosher for Passover” certification is still there for anything that has been processed.  For those who wish to include Kitniyot in their Passover diet, one should look for certifications that say “Kosher for Pesah for those who eat Kitniyot.” I would also add that because there are many within our community who may not be ready to make this change, any synagogue functions this year will be for Kosher for Passover and contain NO Kitniyot. Over the course of the next year, the Jewish Life and Practices committee will be making a recommendation for how we proceed in years to come.
 
Tradition is always an important aspect of who we are as a community and as a people, but sometimes we look back and find that our traditions were not what we thought they were and need to be changed. I believe this to be true in regards to the prohibition of Kitniyot, and I look forward to adding rice, beans, corn or other legumes to my menu this year. 
 
I wish you and your families a happy and kosher Passover!