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April 05, 2006

The return of kitniot

I've realized for several weeks that Passover is coming up. But it really was brought home to me when I started getting a lot of hits for "kitniot" based on my piece last year entitled "The four stages of kitniot." (For the record, the stages are denial, anger, fear, and humor.)

At one point, "The four stages of kitniot" was ranked second on Google on searches for "kitniot." Now, it's down to third or fourth, depending on whether you count two results from the same domain as one or two. The moral is: Fame is fleeting, but kitniot are forever.

And now there's really no doubt about the imminent arrival of Passover. The New York Times had an article this morning called "It's Passover, Lighten Up" about the increased availability of kosher-for-Passover desserts that aren't rock-hard and awful. Kitniot (spelled "kitniyot" there) made a cameo appearance in the article, which reported that Rabbi Jeffrey Wohlberg of Adas Israel, a Conservative shul in Washington, told his congregants last year that they don't have to refrain from kitniot.

Last year, Rabbi Wohlberg said it was permissible for his congregants to eat legumes, called kitniyot in Hebrew. They are usually beyond the pale at Passover for the most rigorous observers, but are increasingly accepted by many Conservative and Orthodox rabbis, particularly in Israel.
I find the last statement -- about Orthodox rabbis -- hard to believe, unless they're sephardic.

Not to be outdone, the Washington Post has several articles today about Passover. The only trouble is that they blame kitniot on The Lobby.

Only kidding, I think.

But please do check out the Post's photo of gorillas "enjoying" matzah. We sons of pigs and monkeys like to see that our near relatives in the gorilla family are observing the holiday, too.

Just so long as they stay away from kitniot.

UPDATE (4/9): Kitniyot Liberation Front???