matzo passover
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Passover 5784

You matzo been a beautiful baby...

Passover 5784 began at sundown tonight, Monday, April 22, 2024 all around the world and lasts for eight days — except in Israel, where the holiday lasts for seven days. The holiday — which is also known in Hebrew as Pesach is celebrated and observed by Jewish people worldwide on the date of the exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, which occurs on the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month of Nisan. Generally, no bread — or anything that contains grain that has fermented, which is known as chametz — is to be consumed or even owned; so it is either sold or burned…

Passover 5784

…but what is a Jewish person to do when traveling during Passover?

The first two nights are most important and are usually dedicated to the seder — which is a ritual feast that marks the beginning of Passover — and people of the Jewish faith are usually surrounded by family and friends at home…

…and although many Jewish people simply stay home for the entire holiday, they are not prohibited from traveling during Passover — but some problems and rather unique challenges do exist in doing so.

Matzo is an unleavened flat bread — more like the consistency of a cracker — which is an integral element of the Passover festival and seder. Not all matzo is Kosher for Passover, as it must meet stricter criteria to officially receive that certification than matzo which is Kosher for the rest of the year.

Other foods which may be consumed during Passover include many vegetables, most fruits, many types of nuts, flavored coconut macaroons, eggs, candy, soup with no noodles, certain types of fish, beef, chicken, turkey, and bottles of Coca-Cola which have yellow caps. Most of these foods can be placed in containers which are suitable for travel.

One controversial note is that The Rabbinical Assembly published a document of which the Committee on Jewish Law & Standards no longer forbid the consumption of kitniyot — beans, corn, millet, peas, rice, soy, and some other plant based foods such as mustard, buckwheat, and sesame seeds as several examples — for Passover effective as of autumn of 2015 for Ashkenazim. Sephardim have consumed such foods during Passover for centuries.

Finally, the great matzo ball controversy may never be resolved: should matzo balls be so light and fluffy that they float in the soup — or should they be dense or hard enough that they sink to the bottom of the bowl of soup and potentially cause a metal spoon to be bent? People on both sides can be quite adamant and vociferous with their opinions.

Final Boarding Call

Many Jewish people simply stay home for Passover — not only to be around family and friends for this festive yet holy and important holiday — but also because travel simply poses too many issues, problems, and challenges. That explains why during my research, not much is mentioned about travel during Passover.

If you celebrate Passover — whether you are traveling or staying at home — חַג שָׂמֵחַ or chag sameach, and may Pesach be peaceful and safe for you.

Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

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