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Sunday, March 03, 2013

Kitniyot for Sepharadim in America - It's About Time

Israeli readers have long known about Kashrut organizations marking their products "Kasher LePesah Le'Ochelei Kitniyot".  This symbol has confused/disappointed/angered Israeli Ashkenazim, but is great for Israeli Sepharadim.

In America, just the opposite has been true.  All Pesah Kashrut symbols have been stringent for Ashkenazim only, which is important, as they are the majority.  However, it leaves us Sepharadim out in the cold.  Was it so bad not having Kitniyot for 8 days?  Not really, but why take on a Humra that you don't need to just because it's not available?  It definitely felt like Sepharadim were treated as second-class as far as our Kashrut needs.

B"H, as the Sephardic community in America has grown, the Kashrut organizations have become more sophisticated.  A few weeks ago, we were told about the Star-S which is the brand new Sephardic Kashrut symbol by the Star-K.  And last week, I noticed that the OU is now coming out with OU-Kitniyot.

As the situation is definitely improving, and I am grateful for that, things are still not perfect for Sepharadim Kashrut-wise and there is still work that could be done that would make it easier for us.  For example, Beit Yosef meat is available, but not always easy to find.  Also, having all restaurants hiring a Jew to put food into the ovens would be nice.  (I guess that's a dream.)  But, the improvement is noted.


At Mon Mar 04, 07:30:00 AM 2013, Blogger Neshama said...

Another storm headed your way, 6-12 white fluffy stuff........ before it hits the East Coast. It should delay a little and cause OB to cancel his ME endeavor.

At Mon Mar 04, 07:54:00 AM 2013, Blogger Daniela said...

I hope Sefaradim realize a crucial point your article does not IMHO emphasize enough: even certified kitniyot must be checked carefully thrice, it is the minimal obligation to slowly and carefully check pinch by pinch, pious people will check one seed at a time, this needs to be repeated three times. The article quotes Sefardi authorities as requesting the triple check one seed at a time. It's not like one can just throw in the pot, add water, and light the fire, and everything is kasher le pesach.

Certification and a list of "advisable" brands, which are grown and processed in a way they won't have grain kernels or bread crumbs inside, has always been around and circulated among those who have the minhag of eating kitniyot. It was not written on the package in order not to mislead people, which I see is a concern that also others have voiced on (I don't read VIN).

The real Pesach chumra is not abstaining from rice, it's checking it properly. Those of us who did, or even those who watched our mother or grandmother check it, don't have such a strong urge to cook rice on Pesach. At most will settle for some huge fava beans.

At Mon Mar 04, 09:18:00 AM 2013, Blogger yaak said...

Thank you, Daniela, for that important info.

As I am of Turkish descent, our Minhag is not to eat rice (as opposed to Kitniyot) on Pesah anyways like the Ashkenazim, so we never had the issue.


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