Cheaper, Faster, Better Passover 2006

Read the 2008 Updated Guide by clicking here

Listen the class here

A Beginners Guide for 2006/5766

Passover is one of the most joyous times of the Jewish year. While preparation requires effort, understanding what is required can make the task cheaper, faster, better and easier, and allow you more time to prepare for the spirit of the Holiday.

CLEANING THE HOUSE Getting rid of the stuff
We clean our homes, apartments and offices to ensure that all chometz we own is removed or sold before Pesach. Chometz is any food made from grain (beer, bread, crackers etc.) Kabbalah teaches that we get rid of spiritual chometz too (bad habits, selfishness, cynicism). Jews of European decent also do not eat kitnios, rice, corn, and legumes and their by-products. Dust isn’t chometz, but a cookie left in your pocket is. So we clean every place that a child or lazy bachelor could leave chometz. Start by vacuuming the whole house, sweeping, checking pockets, back-packs, purses, and other living areas. Check closets, cupboards, bookshelves, and under couch cushions. If chometz fell into a place where it is unreachable by a dog or child you are not required to get to it. This cleaning ensures that we will not have the prohibited amount of chometz in our possession on Passover (1oz of edible chometz). Remember that your cleaning is also for the sake of preparing for the Festival and you may hire someone to do the cleaning for you if you are short on time.

KOSHERING THE KITCHEN Making it stuff free
We treat chometz in the kitchen very seriously because we don’t want to accidentally eat even a morsel of chometz on Passover. First, put away your chometz dishes and utensils for the duration of Passover. Second, carefully clean the kitchen as you would normally. After the kitchen is clean, we make it kosher for Passover. Wash down counters and tables where you will place food with a cleaning agent, and cover them with decorative paper, shelf liner or vinyl. Clear out your pantry to make room for Passover foods. Clear out your fridge and cover shelves with wax paper or plastic inserts. Some parts of the kitchen require special attention.
• Ovens: Self-cleaning ovens – just run one cycle. After it cools, cover inside of oven door with tin foil. Other ovens should be cleaned, let stand for 24 hours, and then put on high for one hour.
• Stovetop: Clean out dropped food from under burners and broiler. Boils pots of water over every burner on high for ten-fifteen minutes to kasher the grates, make them kosher for Passover.
• Stainless sinks and faucets: Clean, don’t use with hot foods or liquids for 24 hours, then pour boiling water over sink starting from drain upwards. Ceramic sinks: Use a plastic container placed inside because they cannot be kashered.
• Microwaves that are plastic should not be kashered unless it’s your only oven. Metal microwave ovens must be cleaned, let stand for 24 hours, then boil a cup of water inside for a few minutes.
• Pots, cutlery, plates and cups: It’s ideal to own two sets, dairy and meaty, only for Passover use. If you cannot then follow these instructions: Wash metal pots, cutlery, and serving utensils, let stand for 24 hours, then immerse in continuously boiling water. Teflon coated pots and all frying pans are (nearly) impossible to kasher for Passover – buy a new one. China, ceramic and porcelain cannot, under most circumstances, be koshered for Passover use.
• Glass: Utensils made of Corningware, Pyrex, Duralex, and Correlle may be kashered, if needed, as metal pots (see above). Regular glass must be soaked for three consecutive 24-hour periods in cold water, changed daily.

BEDIKAS CHOMETZ Checking for the stuff
It is a Mitzvah to check for chometz before the Festival. By the light of a candle, check your home, office, garage, on the night of the thirteenth of Nissan, which this year is April 11th, 2006. Ten pieces of chometz wrapped in foil are placed around the home before the search. During the search, check every room in the house, collect any leftover chometz and destroy it in the morning. The ceremony is described at the beginning of every Hagadah.

MECHIRAS CHOMETZ Selling the stuff
Any chometz that you do not dispose of must be sold to a gentile for the duration of Passover. This is done through a qualified Rabbi who acts as your agent. Sell online at Torah.org or Chabad.org or locally with a qualified Rabbi, a few days before Passover. These items can be kept in your home in a closed and secure place. They can be used a few hours after Passover.

WHAT TO BUY/EAT How to get new stuff
Buy all fresh fruits and vegis, eggs, kosher milk, meat etc before Passover. Look for special Passover certification and products at major supermarkets. There are many customs for Passover about which foods we refrain from. Ask your parents, or your Rabbi what custom you should follow. The following reliable organizations certify kosher products year round and for Passover. They have websites with detailed and helpful information about kosher for Passover products: CRC, OU, Star-K, OK, Not all products need a special “P”,

as is detailed in these on-line guides to their supervised products. Passover cookbooks have helpful recipes for traditional and new Kosher for Passover dishes.

CELEBRATE Party time
Now that the house is ready and stocked for Passover, enjoy the retelling of the Exodus from Egypt, Matzoh, Four Cups of wine, and these eight days of celebration. Have a joyous and kosher Passover!

This is according to Ashkenazi custom. Sephardic customs do vary.
Questions? AIM: rabbiyonah, rabbiyonah @ gmail.com

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“Demographic Propoganda,” the latest incarnation of “Jihad of the Tounge”

One of the claims that has been repeated consistently by a leading member of Muslims Student Association of Long Beach State, parroting the conspiratorial, anti-Semitic cleric Abdel Malik Ali, is that “Islam is the fastest growing religion in the United States.”? [We have this on videotape.]

This statement is false on all accounts. Yet, it helps provide insight into the MSA, their proselytizing agenda, and is a form of “demographic propaganda”,? the “Jihad of the tongue? that they often refer to. By getting Americans to think that Muslims in America are a major political and religious force, they inflate their power.

According the American Religious Identity Survey 2001 (ARIS), the fastest five growing major religions in the USA are: Sikhism (+338%), Hinduism (+237%), Baha’i (+200%), Buddhism (+170%), Native American Religion (+119%).

While Islam is growing, at 109% according to the ARIS study, it remains 0.5% of the American population. Judaism is 1.3%. There are as many Buddhists as there are Muslims, 1.5 million.

The most significant statistic for me was the number of Americans that classify themselves as secular, 13.2%, which is an increase of 110%.

Hinduism, which had about 1 million adherents in 2001, and a rate of increase of 237% between 1990 and 2000, are poised to make a huge increase in the USA. Go India!

So why are the MSA and Ali telling lies? In order to intimidate you and scare you and get you to do things their way. In order for you to think that there is something great about Islam that people are lining up to join it. To get you to shut-up, feel stupid, and submit to their will.

aris study.jpg

The following note says it all:

ADDITIONAL NOTES:In recent years Muslim leaders in the United States have optimistically estimated that there were approximately 6.5 million Muslims in the country (Aly Abuzaakouk, American Muslim Council, 1999). In 1998 a Pakistani newspaper even reported that there were 12 million Muslims in the United States (4.2% of the total population)! After the events of September 11, 2001, many newspaper accounts included an estimate of 8 million American Muslims. This would equate to 3% of the U.S. population, or roughly 1 in every 33 people in the country. No comparable figure has ever been confirmed by independent research similar to the Kosmin or Glenmary studies, or the Gallup, Harris, Pew, Barna polls. Currently, surveys consistently report less than 1% of people surveyed identify themselves as Muslims. Muslim community leaders say that many American Muslims are relatively recent immigrants who either do not have telephone service, do not participate in surveys or are afraid to identify themselves as Muslims for fear of anti-Muslim discrimination. Researchers generally agree that the estimate of 300,000 Muslims in the Kosmin study (1990) and Kosmin’s adjusted estimate (to 500,000) are too small to reflect current (year 2005) numbers of American Muslims. In 2004 the National Study of Youth and Religion conducted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (sample size: 3,370 teens nationwide) found that less than one half of one percent (0.5%) of American teens were Muslim, a proportion right in line with the adult Muslim population, based on other studies. Tom W. Smith of the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago is a nationally recognized expert in survey research specializing in the study of social change and survey methodology. Smith published “Estimating the Muslim Population in the United States” in 2001. This is probably the most thorough academic study of this topic in recent years. This study concluded: “The best, adjusted, survey-based estimates put the adult Muslim population in 2000 at 0.67 percent or 1,401,000, and the total Muslim population at 1,886,000. Even if high-side estimates based on local surveys, figures from mosques, and ancestry and immigration statistics are given more weight than the survey-based numbers, it is hard to accept estimates that Muslims are greater than 1 percent of the population (2,090,000 adults or 2,814,000 total).”

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Passover Crash Course

crash course poster

How student funds promote hate and proselytism at Long Beach State

Wednesday, April 5th, the Student Senate of California State University Long Beach met to discuss next year's budget. Students pay each semester into a communal fund $88 towards services and grants made to student groups for programs. It came to my attention last year, that the student senate was spending thousands of dollars on events that promoted one religious denomination, and were blatantly political and divisive. The Associated Students Inc. by-laws, which governs the distribution of grants, states that they do not grant funds to:

• Activities which support or sponsor religious rites, services, instruction, recruitment, or proselytism; promote religious purposes; or limit participation to members of a certain faith;
• Activities which have a financial affiliation with one or more off-campus organizations whose principal purposes are political, ideological, or religious; or
• Activities that are primarily dedicated to advocating a specific political or ideological position rather than creating a forum to promote discussion or debate of a political or ideological issue from different perspectives.

Yesterday, in an impassioned speech made before the senate, I reminded the senate of their obligations to the students and to the spirit and letter of the ASI by-laws governing grant-making. The speech was quoted in today's edition of the Daily 49er:

While it is stated clearly in the ASI Bylaws not to endorse any religious stance or fund a religious organization, Rabbi Yonah Bookstein of the University Interfaith Center implied past funding of an unnamed religious organization’s event bordered on going against the principle of separation of church and state.

He spoke about appeals for ASI funding expected to come at the meeting, as they prepare to approve the 2006-07 budget in the coming weeks.

In a stirring speech that evoked applause from the Senate, Bookstein concluded by telling the Senators, “You have the power to take the right step, to move in the right direction. And I beg of you, I pray, that when funding comes in front of you today that does not seem to fit the bill of separation of church and state, that you will vote in the right direction. I thank you very much for your time…and God bless.”

What constitutes events that "promote religious purposes"? What constitutes "Activities that are primarily dedicated to advocating a specific political or ideological position"?

Inviting religious speakers who promote a particular faith, advocate political ideologies, promote bigotry and hate would seem to a violation of these codes. Yet, the Senate Board of Control, when presented with evidence that funds had been used in violation of ASI by-laws, voted to approve more funds for that orginization.

Furthermore, programs are only funded that are open to all, and not limited in participation:

Grants will only be awarded to programs that are open to any student wishing to participate. A.S. will not award grants to any program that restricts or limits participation based on sex, disability, race, color, national origin, age, marital status, religion, or sexual orientation.

Events that feature condemnations, slurs, epithets, and accusations against of one group or another, are limiting participation of the affected group. Events that are homophobic, sexist, and racist—while being permitted according to first amendment rights—do not and should not qualify for public funding.

The organization in question had no apologies for their decisions to invite hate-speakers and religious proselytizers to campus. The group has not hidden their agenda. They continue to march forward with plans for "awareness weeks" that promote their religion and condemn others, while taking public money.

It will take brave and honest members of the student body, and unbiased members of the staff of the University that oversee student activities, to amend the wrongs that have been committed and to prevent further harm in the future.