Passover 2016

Passover begins in the evening of Friday, April 22, 2016 and ends in the evening of Saturday, April 30, 2016. We have prepared a Guide; it contains a calendar and outlines helpful information about prohibitions and admonitions for this important holiday.

You can download our Passover Guide 2016 with Responsum in PDF format. It includes a form to sell your chometz; return it to the Ohev office by 8:30 a.m., Thursday, April 21, 2016.

If you have questions, please contact us.

Rabbinical Assembly Pesach Guide

Preparing: The Torah prohibits the eating of chometz during Pesach, and since many common foods contain some mixture of chometz, guidance is offered for shopping and preparing for Pesach. If the information that follows still doesn’t answer a question that you may have, please don’t hesitate to consult with the synagogue.

Labels: Kosher l’Pesach labels should bear the name of a rabbi or one of the recognized symbols of rabbinic supervision; also it should be integral to the package.

Prohibited Foods: Leavened bread, cakes, cereal, coffees containing cereal derivatives, wheat, barley, oats, spelt, rye and all liquids containing ingredients of flavors made from grain alcohol.

Most Ashkenazic authorities have added the following foods (kitniyot) to the above list: rice, corn, millet, legumes (beans and peas; however, string beans are permitted). Peanuts and peanut oil are permissible, as peanuts are not actually legumes. Some Ashkenazic authorities permit, while others forbid, the use of legumes in a form other than their natural state, for example, corn sweeteners, corn oil, soy oil. Consult with the synagogue for guidance in the use of these products.

Permitted Foods: Rabbi White has included a recent responsum from the Rabbinical Assembly which permits us to consume kitniyot (legumes, rice, corn,etc.) during Passover. Read more.

The following require no kosher l’Pesach label if purchased prior to Pesach: unopened packages or containers of natural coffee without cereal additives (NOTE: General Foods® coffees are not kosher for Passover unless marked KP), sugar, salt (not iodized), pure tea, pepper, natural spices, frozen fruit juices with no additives, frozen (uncooked) vegetables that contain no prohibited legumes, milk, butter, cottage cheese, cream cheese, ripened cheeses such as cheddar (hard), muenster (semi-soft), and camembert (soft), frozen (uncooked) fruit (with no additives) and baking soda.

The following foods require no kosher l’Pesach label if purchased before or during Pesach: fresh fruits and vegetables (remember about legumes), eggs, fresh fish and fresh meat.

The following foods require a kosher l’Pesach label if purchased before or during Pesach: Allbaked products (matzah, cakes, matzah flour, farfel, matzah meal, and any products containing
matzah), canned or bottled fruit juices, (These juices are often clarified with kitniyot which are not listed among the ingredients. However, if you know for certain that such clarifying agents were not used, the juice may be purchased prior to Pesach.), canned tuna (since tuna, even when water packed, has oftenbeen processed in vegetable broth and/or hydrolyzed protein… however, if it is known that the tuna is packed exclusively in water, it may be purchased without a kosher l’Pesach label), wine, vinegar, liquor, oils, dried fruit, candy, chocolate flavored milk; ice cream, yogurt and soda.

The following processed foods: (canned, bottled or frozen) require a kosher l’Pesach label if purchased during Pesach: milk, butter, juices, vegetables, fruit, milk products, spices, coffee, tea, and fish, as well as all foods in the preceding paragraph.

Medicine: Since chometz binders are used in many pills, the following guidelines should be followed: If the medicine is required for life sustaining therapy, it may be used on Pesach. Capsules are preferable.

Detergents: If permitted during the year, powdered and liquid detergents do not require a kosher l’Pesach label.

Kashering of Utensils: The process of koshering utensils depends on how the utensils are used. According to halakhah, leaven can be purged from a utensil by the same process in which it was absorbed in the utensil. Therefore, utensils used in cooking are kashered by boiling, those used in broiling are kashered by fire and heat, and those used only for cold food are kashered by rinsing.

Earthenware: China, pottery, etc. may not be kashered. However, fine translucent chinaware which has not been used for over a year may be used if scoured and cleaned in hot water.

Metal: (wholly made of metal utensils in fire, as in a broiler or grill, must first be thoroughly scrubbed and cleansed and then made as hot as possible. Those used for cooking or eating (silverware, pots) must be thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned and completely immersed in boiling water. Pots should have water boiled in them which will overflow the run. The utensils should not be used for a period of at least 24 hours between the cleaning and the immersion in boiling water. Metal baking utensils cannot be kashered.

Oven ranges: Every part that comes in contact with food must be thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned. Then, oven and range should be heated as hot as possible for a half hour. If there is a broiler setting, use it. Self-cleaning ovens should be scrubbed and cleaned and then put through the self-cleaning cycle. Continuous cleaning ovens must be kashered in the same manner as regular ovens. Microwave ovens which do not cook the food by means of heat should be cleaned, and then a cup of water should be placed inside. Then the oven should be turned on until the water disappears. A microwave that has a browning element cannot be kashered for Pesach.

Glassware: For drinking utensils, we recommend soaking in water for three days, changing the water every 24 hours. Glass cookware is koshered by boiling water overflowing the rim. Glass bake ware may not be kashered.

Dishwasher: After not using the machine for a period of 24 hours, a full cycle with detergent should be run.

Electrical appliances: If the parts that come into contact with chometz are removable, they can be kashered in the appropriate way (if metal, follow the rules for metal utensils). If the parts are not removable, the appliance cannot be kashered. All exposed pans should be thoroughly cleaned.

Tables, closets, counters: If used with chometz, they should be thoroughly cleaned and covered and then they may be used.

Kitchen sink: A metal sink can be kashered by thoroughly cleaning and then pouring boiling water over it. A porcelain sink should be cleaned and a sink rack used. If, however, dishes are to be soaked in a porcelain sink, a dish basin must be used.

Chometz and non-Passover utensils: Non-Passover dishes, pots and chometz whose ownership has been transferred, should be separated, locked up or covered, and marked in order to prevent accidental use. (See “SELLING”.)

A Teshuvah Permitting Ashkenazim to Eat Kitniyot (Legumes) on Pesah

Amy Levin and Avram Israel Reisner November 2015 / Kislev 5776

The following teshuvah was approved by the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly on December 24, 2015 by a vote of nineteen in favor, one opposed, and two abstaining (19-1-2).

Since it is recognized that Sephardim permit the eating of kitniyot (legumes, rice and corn) on Pesah, although Ashkenazim traditionally do not do so, might kitniyot be permitted to Ashkenazim?

Psak Halakhah:
In order to bring down the cost of making Pesah and support the healthier diet that is now becoming more common, and given the inapplicability today of the primary concerns that seem to have led to the custom of prohibiting kitniyot; and further, given our inclination in our day to present an accessible Judaism unencumbered by unneeded prohibitions, more easily able to participate in the culture that surrounds us, we are prepared to rely on the fundamental observance recorded in the Talmud and codes and permit the eating of kitniyot on Pesah.

Some Details of This Psak:

  1. Fresh corn on the cob and fresh beans (like lima beans in their pods) may be purchased before and during Pesah, that is, treated like any other fresh vegetable.
  2. Dried kitniyot (legumes, rice and corn) can be purchased bagged or in boxes and then sifted or sorted before Pesah. These should ideally not be purchased in bulk from bins because of the concern that the bin might previously have been used for hametz, and a few grains of hametz might be mixed in. In any case, one should inspect these before Pesah and discard any pieces of hametz. If one did not inspect the rice or dried beans before Pesah, one should remove pieces of hametz found in the package on Pesah, discarding those, and the kitniyot themselves remain permissible.
  3. Kitniyot in cans may only be purchased with Pesah certification since the canning process has certain related hametz concerns, and may be purchased on Pesah.
  4. Frozen raw kitniyot (corn, edamame [soy beans], etc.): One may purchase bags of frozen non-hekhshered kitniyot before Pesah provided that one can either absolutely determine that no shared equipment was used or one is careful to inspect the contents before Pesah and discard any pieces of חמץ (hametz). Even if one did not inspect the vegetables before Pesah, if one can remove pieces of חמץ  (hametz) found in the package on Pesah, the vegetables themselves are permissible.
  5. Processed foods, including tofu, although containing no listed hametz, continue to require Pesah certification due to the possibility of admixtures of hametz during production.
  6. Even those who continue to observe the Ashkenazic custom of eschewing kitniyot during Pesah may eat from Pesah dishes, utensils and cooking vessels that have come into contact with kitniyot and may consume kitniyot derivatives like oil (מי קטניות).


The first Seder of this year’s Passover celebration falls on Friday, April 22, 2016. Consequently, the ritual of bedikat chometz, the search for leaven, should be performed at nightfall on Thursday, April 21, the night beforehand. Since it would be impossible to wait until the night before to prepare your home, this search is essentially symbolic. Take a few minutes to tuck leaven into a few nooks and crannies throughout the house before the search begins. You might want to put out ten pieces for each of the Ten Commandments. Or twelve, one for each tribe. Or perhaps one piece for every family member to avoid a disappointing search. The search itself takes place by candlelight. A candle is lit and the following blessing is recited:

Barukh atah Ad-nai, Elohaynu melech ha-olam, asher kidshanu be-mitzvotav, vetzivanu al bi’ur chometz. (Praised are you, O Lord G-d, King of the Universe, who has made us holy with Your commandments and given us commandments concerning the removal of leaven.)

Then the fun begins with a search-and-destroy by candlelight. All leaven discovered in the process should be swept into a spoon with a feather and then placed in a paper bag for safekeeping. Now recite the formula for the official “nullification” of undiscovered leaven. You can find it in Aramaic in the opening pages of just about every Haggadah. In English it reads:

“All chometz in my possession which I have not seen or removed, or of which I am unaware, is hereby nullified and ownerless as the dust of the earth.”

Keep the bag and its contents until morning.


On Friday, April 22, chometz eating should end by 11:30 a.m. and all leaven discovered by the night before should be burned before 12:30 pm. The rule for burning is that it must take place by the fifth hour after sunrise. Simply lay it on an outdoor grill or directly on a bed of foil in the driveway. Sprinkle it with a bit of flammable liquid and ignite. Afterward, the declaration above should be repeated.

Chometz & Selling

In Biblical times, it was possible for most people to destroy their leaven before Passover without hardship. In many instances this is no longer the case. Our homes are full of leaven, and its destruction before Passover would represent a significant loss. Because our Torah and tradition are so stringent about owning chometz during Pesach, we are taught first to clear out all chometz; secondly, to sell to a non-Jew whatever chometz we may have to store; and third, to nullify or to declare ownerless anything else that might accidentally have remained. In order to do so, the Rabbis instituted the device of mechirat chometz, the sale of leaven. You can choose a room, closet or cupboard and designate it as a storage place for chometz. Fill out the form found below and return it to the synagogue office as soon as possible, but no later than morning minyan on the day before Pesach. Then move all chometz into the designated place by nightfall on Thursday, April 21. At that time, we will turn over ownership of all chometz stored by members of our congregation over to a non-Jewish purchaser for a token fee. A contract will attest to the legality of this sale. At the conclusion of Pesach, we will repurchase the goods sold and they will revert to the ownership of our congregants. Please bear in mind that the sale is, in fact, legal, and the goods should not be touched during the holiday.

Seder Host

Those who would like to host a family or individual for Seder, please contact the synagogue as soon as possible.

Ma’ot Chitim

It is customary to provide ma’ot chitim, funds for poor Jews to enable them to celebrate Passover as free people. Please give to this worthy cause so that others in need can enjoy the festival. Checks should be made payable to Ohev Sholom Pulpit Fund.

Service for First Born Males

Because of the redemption of the firstborn in Egypt, such men were required to fast prior to Seder. However, an exemption is provided for all who participate in a siyyum, the completion of a tractate of Talmud. A wonderful opportunity exists for you to participate in this meaningful ritual by joining us as we complete the study of a tractate of Talmud in a brief service following the regular minyan at 7:00 a.m. Friday, April 22, 2016. All are invited to participate.

(“Searching”, “Burning” and “Selling” are adapted from the B’nai Emunah Messenger.)

Celebrations of the State of Israel

Yom HaShoah , Community-wide Holocaust Remembrance Service – Sunday, May 1, 2016 – 1:30 pm – Jewish Community Campus
Yom Hazikaron, Israel Memorial Day- Wednesday, May 11, 2016 – 7:00 pm – Jewish Community Campus
Yom HaAtzmaut Celebration – Thursday, May 12, 2016 – 5:30 – 9:00 pm The program is held at Kehilath Israel Synagogue, for free. Food is available for a minimal fee.