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107 (FF: Pre-Passover | FF: ペサハの前)

April 15, 2011

A Bakery in Jerusalem, Sept 2009 | エルサレムのベーカリー、2009年9月撮影

Yesterday I had the most stressful grocery shopping experience since I came to Israel.

Never mind the increased traffic in the parking lot, the crowded aisles inside, increased customers and store staff including cash register assistants (baggers) I had never seen there before. There was serious anxiety in the air, people.

There is a certain amount of anxiety in our supermarket every Friday, as it is right before Shabbat (the Jewish day of rest) and everyone is trying to get their grocery shopping done before the stores close for the weekend. But this was anxiety vamped up to a whole new level. Even though I knew stores would be open in the next two weeks (limited amount of days/hours compared to usual) it still made me feel like this may be my last chance to shop and that I should grab what I can.

This is all due to the approaching Jewish holiday, Passover, which starts Monday evening next week. It is the biggest holiday in the Jewish calendar. I can’t say what goes on during Passover since I am just about to experience it for the first time in Israel this year, but it undoubtedly involves many large family gatherings, and lots and lots of food. Hence the chaos in the supermarket.

Once Yuval and I finished maneuvering (=elbowing and pushing) our way through the crowded aisles and settled in for our 20 minute wait for the cash register is when he said something that made me stop dead in my tracks.

“Do we need any bread?” he asked.

“I don’t think so. We rarely get any bread anyway and besides we can make it ourselves.” I replied.

“Then maybe we should get an extra bag of flour.”


“Because it’ll disappear from the stores next week.”

“What, bread and flour?”

“Anything flour-related.”

Yuval went on to explain that this was due to the prohibition of flour products during the eight days of Passover. Matzah, the cracker-like bread made with flour and water, is eaten instead. This is what the Jewish people ate during their exodus from Egypt, when they apparently left in such haste that they couldn’t even wait for their bread to rise.

I was already familiar with Matzah and the story of Egypt… but not the prohibition of flour products. What doesn’t have flour in it? The answer suddenly seemed very limited.

I simply couldn’t get my head around the fact that all flour-related products could just disappear from the supermarket. It didn’t seem possible, in this day and age of abundance. Besides, wouldn’t that be a lot of work?

“A lot of products will be covered with a special nylon.” added Yuval.

“And even if someone took a product anyway, it’ll be rejected by the register?”

Yes it will indeed.

These may be the kind of questions I will be laughing at myself for asking in a few years time, but they’re what comes to mind now! I’ve never been prohibited from buying anything in a supermarket in Japan.

If I manage to capture this on camera, I will be sure to share it with you my friends.
Hopefully along stories of my first Passover experience in Israel.

Take care and Hag Sameah (Happy Holiday) to those of you celebrating Passover!






















Much love,

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sammi Moe permalink
    April 15, 2011 11:42 pm

    Shalom! I have many paper cranes at my house too! And with Passover coming next week, JetBlue will have “Passover snacks”! Those are the best snacks we serve all year. Everyone looks forward to them. One does not have to be Jewish to appreciate the delicious fruit and nut mix, honey almonds, and dried fruits. Yummy!
    I do hope all is well with you and all! I am still loving this blog!
    Hugs and love to you!

    • April 16, 2011 7:56 am

      Hi Sammi,
      I wish I could try JetBlue’s “Passover snacks” too 🙂
      I currently only have the one paper crane I rehearsed before the class at home, but I think I’ll add a few more!
      I hope all is well with you too!


  1. 108 (FF: Matzah brei | マッツァ・ブライ) « much love, kaori – letters from Israel

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