Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Matzah is scarce this year!

I don't know what to make of this. I had no trouble finding boxes...but you are almost always out of luck if you, I don't know, wait til the last minute.

The United States is facing a matzah shortage.

Shoppers from coast to coast are having difficulty finding matzah on store shelves, The New York Times reported.

The shortage is the result of production difficulties at the Manischewitz plant in New Jersey, as well as the decision by some store chains, such as Trader Joe's and Costco, not to carry matzah this year, the Times reported.
It should also be noted that we are currently in a shmita year so farmers in Israel are resting their fields, meaning there is not exporting of products to the United States.

Wiki is your friend.
During Shmita, the land is left to lay fallow and all agricultural activity—including plowing, planting, pruning and harvesting—is forbidden by Torah law. Other cultivation techniques—such as watering, fertilizing, weeding, spraying, trimming and mowing—may be performed as a preventative measure only, not to improve the growth of trees or plants. Additionally, any fruits which grow of their own accord are deemed hefker (ownerless) and may be picked by anyone. A variety of laws also apply to the sale, consumption and disposal of Shmita produce.
Relevant Biblical verses include: Exodus 23:10-11, Leviticus 25:20-22, Deuteronomy 31:10-13, Jeremiah 34:13-14, Nehemiah 10:32, and 2 Chronicles 36:20-21.
According to the laws of shmita, land owned by Jews in the Land of Israel is left unfarmed. The law does not apply to land in the Diaspora. In Biblical times any naturally growing produce was left to be taken by poor people, passing strangers, and beasts of the field. While naturally growing produce such as grapes growing on existing vines can be harvested, it cannot be sold or used for commercial purposes; it must be given away or consumed.

The laws of Shmita do not apply to plants inside a house or greenhouse, which may be tended as usual.

On a shmita year, personal debts are considered forgiven at sunset on the 29th of Elul. Since this aspect of shmita is not dependent on the land, it applies to Jews both in Israel and elsewhere.
In other Pesach news, Bill Kristol analyzes the Pesach statements released by the campaigns and points out a Democratic blunder.
So if Clinton’s Passover message is liberal, and Obama’s is multicultural, one might call McCain’s Zionist. There’s a clear choice of worldviews here — and not just for Jews, but for all Americans.

I might add that both Democratic campaigns missed an opportunity last week. They seem not to have noticed that the date of the first Seder, April 19, was also the 233rd anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord. So, a few days before Pennsylvanians vote, the candidates could have commemorated not just the Exodus from Egypt but also “the shot heard round the world,” thus identifying themselves all at once with political liberation, religious freedom and — yes! — the right to bear arms.
Hillary Clinton's Statement on Passover:
As Jewish families across the world prepare to gather together around the Seder table, I am delighted to offer greetings and good wishes for a joyous Passover.

I have always been inspired by the enduring words of the Haggadah: "In every generation, each of us must see ourselves as if we personally came out of Egypt." It's through remembering the past that we become strong and effective advocates for all who suffer the indignity and pain of servitude and injustice. I am deeply moved by this timeless cry to stand up to oppression, tyranny, and discrimination -- wherever they are found.

As you prepare your homes and your hearts for this Passover season, please know that Bill, Chelsea, and I join you in celebrating freedom and family.

Hag Sameach -- May this be a season of joy for all!
Sen. John McCain's Statement on Passover:
"At sundown tomorrow, families across this country and around the world will join together in celebrating the Exodus of their ancestors from bondage in Egypt. As families gather together for Seders, members of the Jewish faith reflect upon the painful sacrifices made by their ancestors, the joys of freedom, and the triumph of inherent goodness over evil. From our family, Cindy and I would like to extend our best wishes for a happy Passover. Chag Kasher V'Sameach.

"As Passover commences, we should also take a moment to reflect on several individuals who will celebrate this occasion, once again, in captivity. In summer 2006, Hamas and Hezbollah kidnapped three young Israelis -- Gilad Shalit, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser -- and have held them ever since. When I met with the families of two of these men in December 2006, I heard firsthand about their difficulties. To go on without knowledge of these men's whereabouts or physical condition is a terrible thing, and yet these families endure. I committed then to bring attention to this situation, to insist that the Geneva Conventions are observed, and to call for the swift release of these men. I remain committed to this effort and I hope the entire international community will do the same."
President George W. Bush's Passover Message:
Passover, 5768

Then Moses said to the people, "Commemorate this day, the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, because the Lord brought you out of it with a mighty hand."
Exodus 13:3

I send greetings to those observing Passover.

More than 3,000 years ago, G-d liberated the Children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt and led them on a journey towards the Promised Land. During the holy days of Passover, Jews around the world celebrate this deliverance from oppression and give thanks to a loving G-d for His many blessings. Passover is an opportunity for Jewish families and friends to gather to read the Haggadah, share the Seder meal, and remember G-d's mercy through song and prayer. This eight-day observance brings a message of hope and freedom to the Jewish people.

Laura and I send our best wishes for a joyous Passover.
Sen. Barack Obama's Passover Greeting:
This week, Jewish families across America and around the world are preparing for Passover. And on Saturday night, Jews will gather around the Seder table and retell the ancient story of a journey from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Land of Israel.

The Seder, with all its rich traditions, has much to teach us all. Its emphasis on teaching children, and letting them demonstrate their knowledge through the traditional asking of questions, embodies the great Jewish traditions of family and education. Most of all, the Haggadah tells us an ancient story to both recall history, and to teach us lessons about the moral imperatives that we must aim to live by today; it demonstrates the power of maintaining faith and determination, and reminds us that we must constantly work on behalf of freedom in the face of injustice.

American Jews have always played a vital role in our national conversation. As we approach this Passover holiday, let us continue to engage in dialogue, and to ask ourselves and each other how the Passover story challenges us to question the world as it is, and to seek a future that is more just and more peaceful for all.

Michelle, Malia, and Sasha join me in sending warm wishes for a joyous and meaningful Passover.

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