The state senator from Bangor on Friday helped members of an area synagogue fulfill certainly one of their Passover obligations: He “bought” all of the meals Jews can’t have throughout the eight-day vacation in a twist on a Seventeenth-century idea.
Sen. Joe Baldacci, a Bangor Democrat and lawyer, inked the deal Friday, the day earlier than Passover’s begin, at his regulation workplace with Rabbi Invoice Siemers of Congregation Beth Israel in addition to the congregation’s president and vp, Brian Kresge and Nori Kazdoy.
Baldacci’s buy of the hametz — all merchandise containing leavened grains, together with bread, cereal and grain-based alcohol — helps out 30 households from Bangor’s Conservative synagogue.
Most non-Jews know that Passover commemorates the Jewish folks’s flight out of Egypt and slavery. Many know that throughout the eight days of Passover, which begins at sunset Saturday, Jews eat matzah — unleavened bread — as a substitute of bread made with yeast or one other leavening agent.
Few are conscious, nevertheless, that Jews are prohibited from proudly owning or deriving any profit from something made out of 5 main grains — wheat, barley, spelt, oats and rye — throughout the vacation.
Baldacci, a lawyer and a Roman Catholic, was aware of matzah however had by no means heard of hametz and had by no means heard that Jews promote it every year.
Sharing the practices of Judaism is among the causes Siemers every year reaches out to a non-Jew within the Bangor group about shopping for the hametz.
“I requested Joe due to his help for the Bangor religion group and for the growing multicultural presence in Bangor,” Siemers stated.
Annually earlier than Passover, Jews totally clear their houses to rid them of hametz and retailer what can’t be thrown out — flour, yeast, baking soda and all merchandise constructed from grain together with alcohol resembling scotch — in a separate cupboard. They then signal a contract with their rabbis that enable their non secular leaders to promote the hametz on their behalf to non-Jews for the eight days of Passover.
Technically, Baldacci signed an choice to purchase hametz that features the flexibility to come back to the rabbi’s house to look at it throughout Passover. The contract expires when Passover ends at sunset April 4. Not one of the hametz will truly transfer to Baldacci’s home.
The language within the contract is a bit flowery, because the sale of the hametz is a Seventeenth-century idea and the language hasn’t been up to date.
It covers all “hametz and hametz mixtures which those that have approved me [to] have in partnership with a non-Jew, whether or not the hametz talked about is actually their very own, or that for which they’re accountable, even when accountable just for negligence, whether or not the accountability is in accordance with Torah regulation or civil protocol, or by dint of lawlessness, whether or not the hametz is with them in the home, within the attic, within the cellar, or in a manufacturing unit or retailer, whether or not on dry land or the waters, whether or not in wagons or the railroads, or in ships, or in airplanes.”
The contract is barely binding below Jewish, not civil, regulation and the customer “has the authority to do with the hametz no matter his pleasure: to promote, to present, or to hire it with out protest, and in addition the customer has the authority to take house the aforementioned instantly.”
Baldacci, who paid $10 for the hametz, joked that he would possibly cease by for “a number of fingers” of the rabbi’s scotch however wouldn’t be focused on the remainder of the hametz. He additionally stated that he’d wish to attend the synagogue’s group seder subsequent yr. Final yr and this yr, these occasions have been canceled due to the pandemic.
The precise sale worth was $3 however Baldacci, whose household operated a restaurant within the Queen Metropolis for many years, needed to verify Siemers received a “good tip.”
Because the pandemic has not abated enough since last year, Jews around the globe once more will conduct their Passover seders with family and friends remotely.
To commemorate their time as slaves and the liberty that adopted, the seder includes eating matzah or unleavened bread as a result of the Jews left Egypt in such haste there was no time to permit the bread to rise. The seder contains bitter meals, resembling horseradish, to remind them of the bitter years in slavery, and charoset, a candy combination of fruit and pink wine, to remind them of the candy style of freedom.
The seder ends with the phrases, “Subsequent yr in Israel.”
Siemers on Friday informed Baldacci, “Subsequent yr at 144 York Road,” the synagogue’s deal with.