Not So Kosher For Passover

Posted by: on Apr 28, 2016 | No Comments


Not So Kosher For Passover

Yes, I am Jewish. No I don’t keep Kosher…never have…never plan to. There are a lot of folks out there in the world, that when they found out you are Jewish, they just assume you don’t eat pork products. Essentially they are ignorant.

My feelings about keeping Kosher can best be summed up in one of my favorite stories. When Linda and I were first dating, I was visiting her at her house in NJ. We were in the kitchen and I went to grab a utensil to eat something. Linda looks me and says “Not that drawer, the other.”
Puzzled, I respond “What’s the difference.”
“One is meat and one is dairy” was her response and a bright red warning light goes off in my head – Danger Ira Berkowitz….this girl is KOSHER!
“Wait, your Kosher?” I respond as I throw up my hands up in the air and take a step backwards, ready to make a dash for the front door, into my car and back to my oh so treif (not Kosher) existence on longisland. “If you think I’m giving up my bacon cheeseburgers, we can call this whole thing off right now.”
That’s a very accurate account of things but alas, taste buds won out over ancient rituals, and I’ve been up to my eyes in pork chops, cheeseburgers and other non so kosher foods ever since.

Now, let’s move onto Passover, which has it’s own set of “Kosher for Passover” rules and rituals. I’ll assume that everyone out there knows that during Passover, Jews eat matzah. Even if you are not Jewish, you should know that. It’s right there in the Old Testament,  Exodus, Chapter 12, verses 17-20. You can go read it for yourself if you have ye Old Holy Bible handy.  Essentially when the Jews fled Egypt, they couldn’t wait for the bread to rise because Pharaoh and his men were breathing down their backs…or something like that. So they made matzah, also know as the bread of affliction because we’ve been afflicted ever since.

Not only are you not supposed to eat bread or anything made with yeast during Passover, you are supposed to clean your house of all bread products, switch your plates and utensils to a completely different set of special Kosher for Passover plates and utensils, and lots of things that I do not do. The one thing I do is give up bread, give up bread products, give up cookies and cakes (unless they are the Kosher for Passover variety), and eat matzah…lots of matzah. I realize it’s a small sacrifice during a time that calls for bigger ones, but that’s the way I roll. After all, I’m not really religious. I consider myself a cultural Jew and matzah is enough culture for me during Passover

Now I’m sure all you non-Jews out there are asking “Ira, as a Jew, how can I get away this?” Simple, I’m a Reform Jew, a very liberal branch of Judaism. If we don’t like the rules, we reform them…hence Reform Jew (and I’m only half kidding).

All of my feelings about keeping Kosher and keeping Kosher for Passover, were very nice illustrated at a lunch I had earlier today with my friend Bill…my non-Jewish friend Bill. We had lunch at the Midland Ale House and guess what they have there? Ale and beer…which is made with yeast…which makes it strictly not Kosher for Passover…and I could not have cared less as I ordered my Carton Session IPA. It wasn’t bread and I could not substitute matzah for my beer.

Talking while we waited to order, I mentioned to Bill that I had barbecued pork chops for dinner last night. Strictly not Kosher, Passover or otherwise. For lunch I ordered a turkey burger BLT with no bun. FYI, B is for bacon. Not so Kosher. When Bill asked me why no bun, I admitted that it was because of Passover, not for dietary reasons. Our waiter, our Jewish waiter, was quick to point out that he overheard about last nights pork chop and was about to point out my beer, when I cut him off and stated that I was acutely aware of the hypocrisy of the whole thing. I added that I had enough matzah for awhile but that I was waiting for the traditional pizza dinner with my not so Kosher wife to break Passover.

Honestly, my hypocrisy about keeping Kosher for Passover is pretty much the way I view many aspects of religion, Jewish or otherwise. It’s all about hypocrisy and has been since the first words of the Old Testament were ever uttered, but that’s a subject for another day.

One last thing about that pizza dinner I will be eating on Saturday night. Will probably be coming with cheese and sausage on it. Yes, pork, not Kosher; and mixing meat with dairy, very not Kosher. I wonder which draw I should get the utensils out of for dinner?