Pesach has passed, and in Israel everyone is recovering from a week of eating matzah and intensive family time. We are happy to share two recently published Passover-related ideas, both of which raise environmental awareness in the realms of general observance and Jewish law (halacha):
Biur Chametz in a Composter – Removal of Leavened Products Before Passover
Harav Yuval Sherlow, an active member of Teva Ivri’s steering committee and a well-known spiritual figure in Israel, issued an halachic (Jewish legal) ordinance stating that it is permissible to bury chametz in a composter three days before the holiday, in place of burning it. For those who still prefer to burn their chametz, Rav Sherlow emphasized that it is forbidden to burn it inside a plastic bag, as is common in many places in Israel, because of the resulting air pollution.
The ordinance was published by Teva Ivri in several media outlets, and reflected a new type of conversation in Israel – one in which a composter is a common accessory that needs to be considered and applied to the establishment of halacha. We believe that this is a positive step toward incorporating environmental topics into both halachic discussions and into mainstream Israeli thought.
A Socially and Environmentally Aware Seder Plate
In its pre-Passover publications in the Israeli media, Teva Ivri called special attention to the social and environmental aspects of the Seder plate. Hundreds of Israeli families were careful this year to ensure that their Seder plate imparted the message of freedom not only for the Jewish people but also for animals and homeless or poor people.
For example, free-range eggs on the Seder plate teach that on the holiday of freedom, it is impossible to enjoy eggs that are laid by chickens raised in terrible conditions of captivity.
Vegetables on the Seder plate (maror, charoset, karpas) from a local source are considered to be mehadrin – the most stringent form of kashrut – because they travel straight from the producer to the consumer. The use of local products at the Seder reminds us of the importance of personal connections in our habits of consumption and of our refusal to become enslaved to corporate brand names.
These messages from Teva Ivri were well-received by the Israeli public, proving that the climate is right for increasing environmental awareness in Israel and throughout the Jewish world.
Blessings for freedom and liberty,
Einat Kramer – Director, Teva Ivri