Preparing for Passover: Selling Chametz

Once again this year, TBI is helping to facilitate the symbolic act of selling of chametz, which celebrates the interdependence of Jews and their non-Jewish friends and neighbors. During the week of Passover, tradition teaches that we rid our homes of all leavened grain products, known as chametz in Hebrew. Instead, we eat only unleavened grain products – matzah. In preparing for Passover, many of us go through our homes, gathering up all the chametz – the bread, pasta, cereal, beer (yes, beer!) and other products with leavened or fermented grain ingredients, and we put these items aside in a designated place that is off limits for the week.

Today, the way this selling of chametz usually works is that members of a local Jewish community delegate the power to sell their personal chametz to a local rabbi, who then sells it (usually for a dollar) to a non-Jewish person in the community. After Passover, that non-Jewish friend sells the chametz back through the rabbi, also for a dollar.

As in years past, we have made arrangements with a local non-Jewish clergy to purchase our community's chametz and sell it back after the holiday.  If you would like to participate in this mitzvah, you may download the legal document here, and follow the simple instructions at the end.

It is also customary to make a donation towards hunger relief before Pesach. Consider a gift to Food for Lane County, Mazon or an organization of your choice. 

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Temple Beth Israel is the Center for Jewish Life in Eugene, embracing traditional wisdom with contemporary insight.

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