01 April 2007

Passover isn't easy in Hawaii

Hawaii is home to a growing number of members of our tribe, including Anne Feder Lee - president of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies - as well as many Jewish visitors from the mainland each year.

The Jewish holidays present unique problems there, as detailed in this story

It isn't easy to prepare the menu made in heaven, not for Jews in Hawaii where the supply of kosher food is hit and miss.

Chabad of Hawaii ordered 3,000 pounds of food from the mainland for Passover meals next week. Besides the two large communal Seder meals Monday and Tuesday, Pearl Krasnjansky will be preparing lunches and dinners for her family and people who gather for services at the Ala Moana Hotel during the eight-day observance.

Dina Yoshimi of Pearl City was delighted to see the load of luggage her parents brought when they arrived Thursday from the mainland. They brought "suitcases full" of kosher food for the family holiday celebration.

Carolann Biederman of Kaneohe made a circuit of four supermarkets in Honolulu and Windward Oahu to gather the essentials for a family Seder and meals through the week.

This year, in Tel Aviv, where you'd think everything Jewish would be available all the time, my three local markets combined had only six boxes of that nice garlic and onion matzo. I managed to get potato starch and matzo meal, but haven't found ANY cake meal yet to make my Passover apple cake. I'll just throw regular matzo meal in my food processor and grind it down!

In Teheran, we rarely ate dairy because nothing was kosher for Passover; some families had a goat brought to their home to be milked. One year, however, I visited a small store near my in-laws and was shocked to find an entire refrigerator case filled with imported Passover dairy products (butter, cream cheese, sliced cheeses, feta and more). I used every bit of my cash (no credit cards were accepted in those days), then went back to my in-laws' house (no cellphones, either!) to call my friends to come and get what they could. By the end of the day, the case was empty. We feasted on many nostalgic dishes that year.

The Hawaii article ends with:

The scarcity is not news. Congregation Sof Ma'arav published a collection of members' recipes in 1989. Its title: "The When You Live in Hawaii You Get Very Creative During Passover Cookbook." The book is still available.

I may just send for it.

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