Beth Din relaxes dietary requirements for Pesach
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Beth Din relaxes dietary requirements for Pesach

Centuries of strict religious law eased again in move to help kosher shoppers during coronavirus crisis.

Seder plate!
Seder plate!

Centuries-old rules governing Pesach food have been relaxed for those in exceptional circumstances by the London Beth Din amid the ongoing lockdown.

A list of 30 products can be used ‘in-extremis’ according to guidance issued by the Kashrut Division of the London Beth Din (KLBD) for the second year running. Items range from hand sanitiser and honey to instant coffee and condiments.

This comes after landmark advice was published last Passover, allowing items not produced under special Pesach supervision to be used, as has been the requirement for British Jews for hundreds of years.

A spokesperson for KLBD stressed that these items are “intended only for circumstances when regular supervised products are not available, or if people are in isolation and unable to go shopping themselves or have kosher for Pesach supervised products delivered to their home.”

Saxa salt and Tate & Lyle sugar is certified all year round but other brands are included among leniencies for Pesach this year. Some foodstuffs are still banned however, including tinned tomatoes and potatoes, soft drinks, prunes, gherkins, olives and jams.

Non-food items certified as Kosher for Pesach by the KLBD include cosmetics, medicines, pet food and cleaning products.

Rabbi Jeremy Conway, Director of KLBD, said Passover this year brings  “uncertainty as our community faces a second Pesach lockdown and seder nights without family and friends”, but this year “we are not predicting any kosher l’Pesach food shortages”.

He added the guidelines are “intended for members in more isolated areas where regular supervised products are not available, or if people are in isolation and unable to go shopping themselves or have kosher for Pesach supervised products delivered to their home.”

The Beth Din’s guidance says “unlike last year, Passover-supervised products are widely available this year via internet shopping, home deliveries, click & collect, 24 hour shopping and some charitable organisations.”

The United Synagogue’s ‘Seder in a Box’ initiative help people mark Pesach under lockdown has now sold out with more than 300 items purchased. Last week, an appeal to help over 4,000 people and families in crisis this Passover smashed its original target to raise over £440,000.

Passover begins on Saturday 27 March.

See the In-Extremis guide here

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