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Please join Rabbi Denise Eger, Cantor Mark Saltzman, Student Rabbi Jeremy Gimbel, and the Ritual Committee as we celebrate Pesach with our annual Second Night Seder

Enjoy a gourmet Kosher for Passover meal among good friends and neighbors!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 6:00pm 

Congregation Kol Ami Sanctuary 

Gourmet Kosher for Passover Meal  (vegetarian option available) 

Only $67.50 per adult and $36 per child (pre-B’nai Mitzvah)    

Please R.S.V.P. to the Temple Office at 323/606-0996 or   Please note that payment is due at the time of reservation.

The two-course meal will begin with a light, sweet salad of mixed greens, candied pecans, cranberries, red onions and topped with sliced pears. Then gefilte fish, ground with white onions, matzo meal, egg and seasonings, will be carefully poached and served on a bed of arugula with an aromatic broth of infused carrots.

The main course is chicken breast prepared with a rub of fresh lemon zest, kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, garlic and Herbs d’ Provence, drizzled with virgin olive oil and roasted to a browned perfection.

A vegetarian main course option, eggplant cutlets, encrusted with matzo and baked with tomato concassé  is also available.  

Side dish options include steamed haricots verts that have been tossed in a light olive oil and garlic salt mixture,a wild mushroom matzo farfel kugel sautéed in virgin olive oil and baked to a delicious crisp, and a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish stew made especially from one of Rabbi Eger's personal recipes! 

A colorful dessert of macaroons with coffee and tea will complete the Seder.

Passover Dilemmas

 To Legume or not To Legume?: A Discussion of Kitniyot

Passover is soon here and the annual review of the rules of Passover are important to remind us how we enhance our spiritual grounding for this important Festival.  Passover is a Biblical holiday lasting 7 days in Israel and for Reform Jews world-wide (8 days for Conservative and Orthodox Jews outside of Israel).

On Passover we refrain from eating chametz, or any product with leavening.  These include: bread, pastas, vinegars, and anything made from rye, oats, barley, spelt, or wheat because when these come into contact with water the dough from them is chametz.  Also anything fermented or brewed from these five grains is also forbidden so most beers and many vinegars and alcohol like whiskey or scotch or bourbon.  Here is an excerpt from a Reform Responsa on Passover Kashrut:

"It is a mitzvah to abstain from eating leaven (Chametz) during the entire seven days of Pesach."[2] By "chametz", the tradition means those grains from which matzah may be baked: wheat, barley, oats, rye, and spelt.[3] No other foodstuffs are regarded as chametz. In this, the halakhah rejects the opinion of R. Yochanan ben Nuri, who forbids the eating of rice and millet during Pesach because they "resemble chametz."[4] Talmudic law, rather, forbids the use of rice and legumes (kitniyot) as flour for the baking of matzah and therefore permits us to eat them during the festival.[5] 

Among Ashkenazi Jews or those from Eastern or Central Europe a custom arose to refrain from other things called kitniyot.  The word kitniyot means small things or bits.   This refers to corn, legumes such as peanuts or beans or peas and rice. Flour can be made of these and the common idea is to keep the categories clear. 

Sephardic Jews from the Mediterranean or Middle-Eastern countries eat kitniyot including rice, beans, lentils and chickpeas. 

Today in Israel and around the Jewish world there is much debate about kitniyot and whether or not the custom of refraining from them during Pesach needs to be observed today especially since so much of our processed foods contain corn syrup.  One recent rabbinic ruling stated that the meaning of the holiday to celebrate freedom is getting lost because people are obsessing over whether or not a food product contains corn syrup rather than concentrate on the exodus from Egypt! This was from the Conservative movement and permitted the eating of kitniyot in Israel.

The idea of refraining from rice, beans, lentils, peas and the like was debated even by the rabbis.  They debate raged in the important Jewish community in the South of France and Northern Spain and even there was only observed intermittently.  Several leading rabbis during the Middle Ages said the custom of refraining from these foods was not law. 

Here is more on the history of eating kitniyot from the Reform Responsa on Passover Kashrut:

This prohibition is firstmentioned[6] in the thirteenth century by two French authorities, R. Yitzchak of Corbeil[7] and R. Manoach of Narbonne.[8] R. Yitzchak writes that "our teachers observe the custom" of not eating rice and legumes during the festival, though he adds that this custom is not universally accepted and that "great sages" disregard it. Among these was his own teacher and father-in-law, the great tosafist R. Yechiel of Paris, who argued that since the Talmud ruled that these foodstuffs are not chametz there is no reason to prohibit them today. R. Yitzchak, though, reluctant "to permit something that for so long has been widely regarded as forbidden," feels the need to justify the custom. He does so, not on the grounds that rice and legumes are chametz ("since not even a beginning Talmud student would make that mistake"), but because these foodstuffs resemble chametz in that they are cooked in the same fashion. Since this resemblance can lead to confusion--people might mistake a chametz mixture for one of rice or legumes--the rabbis issued a decree forbidding the latter.[9] R. Manoach, for his part, suggests that the prohibition originates in a widespread--but mistaken--belief that rice and legumes are forms of chametz. Unlike R. Yitzchak, however, R. Manoach does not attempt to defend this "errant" custom, and he suggests a talmudic basis for dismantling the prohibition altogether. 

These sources tell us a great deal about both the history and the halakhic status of the custom to abstain from rice and legumes during Pesach. We learn that while the prohibition was well known in France by the thirteenth century,[10] some leading rabbis of those communities rejected it on clear halakhic grounds. We know that the custom did not spread beyond Ashkenazic Jewry; rabbis in Spain and elsewhere did not hesitate to express their astonishment against it.[11] And although the prohibition did gain wide acceptance among the Ashkenazim,[12] some leading Ashkenazic authorities, including R. Ya`akov Emden, were still criticizing it as late as the eighteenth century.[13]

So even if you come from an Ashkenazic background there seems to be lots of permission to actually eat kitniyot on the Passover holiday.

Passover begins Monday evening, March 25, 2013 and continues through Sunday, March 31, 2013 at Sundown. 

Kol Ami will observe a Second Seder together on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 and Yizkor on Monday morning, April 1, 2013 at 8 am.   

Chag Sameach.



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