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Passover in Israel—You Either Love it or Hate it

For many Israelis, Passover holds little or no religious significance. Whatever their ethnic or religious back- ground, from their perspective, the Haggadah is nothing more than a legend accompanied by traditions that help to maintain Jewish culture and identity. From the Seder plate and Afikomen to Elijah’s chair, the entire celebration for them is more for the children, and because, well—tradition is tradition.

The Hametz Conundrum
At least a month before Passover, all hametz (leaven) items go on sale and people stock up for one of two purposes, to eat during hol hamoed (weekdays of the festival) because they don’t want to be without it for an entire week, or to take advantage of the sale—in which case it is packaged and ritually sold to a non-Jew before the holiday and bought back afterward. This latter practice is actually an essential busi- ness practice for kosher supermarkets, restaurants, and the Israeli government. In fact, as of 2018, Jewish people worldwide, including in Israel, can sell their hametz online to the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. They, in turn, sell it via a complex contract that enables all the hametz to be restored to their possession, and final- ly returned to the original owners after the holiday. Once the business has proof of their sale, they can ask…

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