Beth Din relaxes dietary requirements for Pesach

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Beth Din relaxes dietary requirements for Pesach

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

Seder plate!
Seder plate!

The London Beth Din has broken hundreds of years of tradition requiring special ‘kosher for Passover’ products by telling British Jews that they can use some regular products this year.

The religious court took the unprecedented decision on Tuesday to help struggling or house-bound families amid the coronavirus outbreak by publishing a list of regular products that can be used this Pesach.

The Kashrut Division of the London Beth Din (KLBD) said it was allowing those in need to buy a range of basic goods not produced under special Pesach supervision, as has been the requirement for British Jews since the beginning of commercial food manufacturing in the 15th century.

“We are acutely aware of the pressures at this unprecedented time,” said KLBD director Rabbi Jeremy Conway. “We already know why this Seder night will be different to all other nights and this Pesach will be one unlike any other.”

He said the Beth Din had “been working overtime” to support kosher shops and manufacturers, and create new guidelines for this year only.

“This list should be used when regular supervised products are not available, or for people who are older or in isolation and so are unable to go shopping themselves or have Pesach products delivered to their home.

“Working together, we hope the community will be able to have a kosher and meaningful Pesach despite the challenging circumstances.”

KLBD described its permission to use some regular products as “leniencies” and said they were “intended to assist people specifically at this time of crisis”.

Conway said it was specifically designed for occasions when regular supervised products were not available or if people were in isolation and unable to go shopping themselves or have Pesach products delivered to their home.

Beth Din 2020 “leniencies” include brands of salt other than Saxa and brands of sugar other than Tate & Lyle, however some foodstuffs were still banned including tinned tomatoes, tinned 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.

Several kosher food stores including bakeries have offered free delivery services owing to the coronavirus outbreak and many customers self-isolating at home, with many offering “family packs”.

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