Today is February 23, 2019; the

Congregation Sons of Abraham

The heart of Jewish life in the La Crosse area for over 100 years

1820 Main Street, La Crosse, WI 54601
(608) 784-2708 |

Kosher for Pesach Basics

The Torah commandment not to eat leavened food (chometz) on Passover (Pesach) includes all foods, drinks, and ingredients that are made from, or contain, a mixture of wheat, rye, oats, rice-flour and legumes.  It is customary not to eat any chometz from 9:45 a.m. in the morning before the Seder (Friday, March 30) until the conclusion of the holiday (one hour after sundown on Saturday, April 7).  If the Rabbi sold your chometz, please wait until 9:00 p.m. before retaking possession on April 7.

The ceremony that marks the elimination of chometz from the home is called Bedikat Chometz.  It should be performed after dinner on Thursday, March 29.  Accompanied by family members and armed with candle, feather, spoon, and bag, the head of the family searches all the darkened rooms of the house for crumbs of chometz, some of which have been strategically placed in advance.  These crumbs are to be burned (Biur Chometz) on Friday before 10:45 a.m.  If your Haggadah does not provide the blessing and meditation recited at the evening or morning ceremony, or if you need the tools for the evening Bedikah, please call Simcha.

GRAIN PRODUCTS.  All grain products or mixtures of grain, such as cereals, breakfast foods, grain alcohol, grain vinegar, yeast and malts are forbidden.  Legumes
(e.g., peas, beans, peanuts, etc.), rice and corn are also not used on Pesach.  Pesach foods containing flour, such as matzoh, cake, macaroons, and noodles, require special Passover rabbinical endorsement.

PASSOVER RABBINICAL ENDORSEMENT means that the name of a rabbi or the symbol of a national agency, such as the “Circle U” and the words “Kosher for Passover” are printed on the package together.  Endorsement is required for practically all processed foods including medicines, candy, wine, liquor, horseradish, vinegar and canned foods.

MILK PRODUCTS.  Milk products, such as milk, cream, cottage cheese, sour cream, and butter, do not need Passover rabbinical endorsement if bought before the holiday.  Milk products purchased during the week of Passover do require rabbinical endorsement.  All yogurt must have rabbinical endorsement.

FROZEN VEGETABLES AND FRUITS require Passover rabbinical endorsement when produced by companies which also produce pasta blends or “sugar added” products.

DRIED FRUITS.  Figs, dates, prunes, apricots, raisins, and apples may be used during Pesach.  Caution should be taken that they do not come in contact with chometz if they are bought in bulk.

SPICES.  Onion powder and paprika require rabbinical endorsement.  All other spices are okay for use during Pesach.

CANDIES.  Only candy which has rabbinical endorsement on each wrapper, or is packed in a sealed box with the endorsement printed, not pasted, on the container may be used.  A label that reads “Kosher for Pesach” without the proper rabbinical endorsement is not sufficient.

BEVERAGES.  Soft drinks and any carbonated beverage, including unflavored mineral water, require rabbinical endorsement.

OTHER PRODUCTS REQUIRING PASSOVER RABBINICAL SUPERVISION:  Commercially-ground coffee, cottonseed oil, fruit juice, ices, ice cream, mayonnaise, ketchup, vegetable shortening, peanut oil, sour pickles, preserves, syrup, and tuna all require Passover endorsement. (Note that you can buy whole roasted, unflavored coffee beans and grind them yourself.)

DISHES AND UTENSILS:  All regular cooking utensils, appliances, dishes, flatware, and glasses should be put away.  Paper plates are excluded because they contain starches.  Counter tops and sinks should be cleaned and scalding water should be poured over them.  New sink liners and strainers should be used.  Stoves should be thoroughly cleaned and burned at maximum temperature for one hour.  Stove racks should be covered with perforated foil.

Those who own microwave ovens and wish to use them for Passover should clean them, fill a paper container with water and bring it to a boil, steaming the inside walls of the oven.  Then cover the bottom surface of the oven with Styrofoam or some other kind of “rack”.  All foods warmed or cooked in the microwave oven over Passover should be covered.  Those who wish to use their tablecloths for Passover must be sure that they are laundered without starch.