Passover, if you’re still keeping track of days, starts two weeks from tomorrow night. For those who keep it, it means a complete kitchen overhaul: a thorough cleaning and removal of chametz (food that’s not kosher for Passover, mostly bread) and dusting in the corners with a feather to make sure it’s all really gone, and then restocking with special kosher-for-Passover food, which ranges from good old classic matzo and macaroons to kosher facsimiles of bagels and potato chips.
You might be thinking—hoping?—that the current COVID-19 pandemic might get you off the hook this year. Well, think again. While the London Beth Din, or religious court, has made a list of products not made under special supervision that are permitted this year because of the crisis, “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,” Rabbi Jeremy Conway, the director of the Beth Din’s Kashrut Division, told the UK Jewish News. In other words, if you’re looking for a rabbi-endorsed excuse not to eat matzo this year, this is not it.
Meanwhile, in America, the kosher supply chain remains unimpeded by the modern plague. The Orthodox Union kosher certification agency has promised “an abundance of kosher food available for the upcoming holiday,” reports the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. This is because most of the food had been produced and shipped by the end of 2019. (And if you’re wondering why matzo tastes a bit stale, now you know why. This stuff is designed to last forever—even longer than Twinkies, which are not kosher for Passover.)
“Additionally,” Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of the agency’s Kosher Division, told the JTA, “food manufacturers are continuing to produce food during this time and we have been assured by our clients – including Manischewitz, Empire, Kedem and others – that there is plenty available and that there is no issue with food production for Passover.”
More good news: hand sanitizer is officially kosher for Passover!
Now onward to the next problem: How to plan for a Passover seder in social isolation.