VIDEO: Is the Motzaei Pesach Pizza worth its Weight? | Let’s Talk Kashrus

[COMMUNICATED] Is the secret to your post-Pesach pizza a batch of dough whipped up on erev Pesach? Are workers starting to work before the z’man? Was the dough sold properly? Let’s take a look at this hot topic.

 

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Kashrus used to be at the forefront of everyone’s minds. The scarcity of glatt and mehadrin options made us meticulous hashgacha-checkers.

Baruch Hashem, we’ve been living in a generation of abundance – but that comes with its challenges. There’s a widespread blissful ignorance and a mentality of blind trust as we take kashrus for granted. Additionally, the explosion of foodie culture, home chefs, party planning, and holiday travel programs have brought about a shift in mentality, where kosher food is so readily available that consumers don’t think twice about hashgacha.

Our children are not growing up with that same sensitivity the previous generation grew up with. Perhaps it’s time to reinstate the proverbial question: Is it our hechsher?

The Kashrus Awareness Project is committed to bringing attention to this issue, to make kashrus part of the conversation in our community, and to lay the groundwork for consumers to make informed decisions.

As Chag HaPesach draws to a close, we bring to you a timely conversation concerning chometz she’avar alav haPesach – between Rabbi Yitzchok Hisiger and Rabbi Sholem Fishbane, Kashrus Administrator of the CRC, and Executive Director of AKO.

Following is a loose transcript of select episodes excerpted from the Let’s Talk Kashrus series.

WATCH THE Q&A SESSION

Rabbi Fishbane:

What you just brought up brings me to another subject. We just discussed potential issues with supermarkets and shops, but then there are the shailos related to restaurants, local bagel stores, and, of course, the pizza shops.

I just got an inquiry. Can we let our employees come in on Pesach to turn on the ovens, so that Motzaei Pesach we can get that first pizza out? We’re most vigilant right after Pesach that nothing’s going on, and it’s a big problem.

Rabbi Hisiger:

Yeah, churning out that pizza within an hour of the z’man… What’s the secret? What’s the real story there? Is the dough sold?

Rabbi Fishbane:

Yes, many times they’re selling dough, but if done halachically, people can buy it.

Rabbi Hisiger:

Do you have pizza on Motzaei Pesach?

Rabbi Fishbane:

I’ve got to tell you, in my job as administrator, some years I go to Pesach hotels…

Rabbi Hisiger:

Right. A topic for a different time.

Rabbi Fishbane:

Oh my! But listen to this story. It happened at one of the Pesach hotels I was at.

In general, at many of these vacations, you almost wouldn’t know it’s Pesach. There’s nothing you can’t get! You’ll have buns at the Chol Hamoed barbecue made from tapioca or whatnot… So one of the things they do in Pesach hotels is a pizza shop. The whole Yom Tov you’re going to line up, you make your own pizza, and it’s delicious.

One year, of course, they bring frozen pizza in the trucks, they sell it k’halacha, and Motzaei Yom Tov they start churning out the pizza. Everything’s great — until they run out of frozen pizza! You’d think the oilam at the Pesach hotel hasn’t eaten in a week.

Before Yom Tov, we give the staff what is called a “sensitivity training.” In addition to halachic concerns that we train them in, we’ll sometimes prepare them for what they are about to experience. I like to call it “three Thanksgiving meals a day.”

I often joke that Pesach hotels should start charging by weight. They weigh you when you come in, and weigh you when you leave, and charge you per pound.

Jokes aside, that year, on Motzaei Pesach, they ran out of frozen pizza. So they took the leftover kosher l’Pesach pizza, which was gluten-free, and no one knew the difference! It was so good!

So here’s my dilemma as a rav hamachshir. Do I get up and announce, “Rabbosai, stop washing netilas yadayim. It’s gluten free!” Do I reveal the secret?  Of course, we go with halacha, period. But I just remember that year because it was quite amusing.

So, yes, it is difficult to churn out enough pizzas and you have to be innovative, alert, and knowledgeable. For example, the pizza ovens, in order for them to be heated up and ready to churn out the goods, are kept on low during the second days of Yom Tov. There are shailos that you need to be prepared for.

I’m not here to pasken l’halacha. I’m just raising the issues that an educated consumer would want to know more about. After all, she’ailas chacham is chatzi teshuvah.

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We invite your questions, comments, or feedback. If there’s a specific kashrus topic you’d like to bring to public attention, feel free to contact us by e-mail: [email protected]

Message or call: 678-8-Kosher

You can also visit our website  www.kashrusawareness.com for a growing list of resources, timely conversations, and to watch the debut episodes of the Let’s Talk Kashrus audio-visual series.

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