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Supersize Cleaning

Tali Gross

In big spaces, like a grocery store or a hospital in Eretz Yisrael, cleaning for Pesach can be a giant production. Let’s hear how they do it!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

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I s Pesach prep in full swing over at your house? It sure is at mine. The smell of cleaning solution mixed with spring can only mean that Pesach is just around the corner, and families around the world are busy scrubbing away to get rid of a year’s worth of chometz. For some people though, Pesach cleaning takes on a different meaning. In big spaces, like a grocery store or a hospital in Eretz Yisrael, cleaning for Pesach can be a giant production. Let’s hear how they do it!

Never Enough Time

Have you ever noticed how other people are already worrying about Pesach when you just finished Chanukah? At Glatt Mart, a large grocery store in Brooklyn, NY, Pesach cleaning begins in January. While you’re preparing your costume for Purim and dreaming of shalach manos, the Glatt Mart meat department is busy turning over for Pesach! While you’re putting your Purim costume away and noshing on Purim leftovers, they’re preparing your Pesach food.

Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, NJ waits for bein hazmanim (Rosh Chodesh Nissan) to begin their Pesach cleaning. The yeshivah is a bit emptier then, and they have a couple of weeks to get things in order.

Not everyone has that much time though. While many people like to leave themselves lots of time for all the Pesach prep, that can’t always be the case when you have a large operation to run! Can you imagine what your mother would do if she only had three days to get ready for Pesach? What if you had to clean a whole hospital?

Rabbi Waisfeld, the director of the Boro Park Rehab and Nursing Center, points out that the tricks that work for households don’t always work for businesses. “It’s a nursing home — we can’t have people eating sandwiches on the stoop!” At the Boro Park Rehab and Nursing Center, they begin the large job of kashering the kitchen and dining room just three days before Pesach. For Laniado Hospital, a large hospital in Netanya in Eretz Yisrael, Pesach cleaning begins the day after Purim, but like at the Boro Park Center, patients still need to eat warm and healthy meals every day. That means they can’t kasher the kitchen until a few days before Pesach.

All Hands on Deck

They might not be starting all that far in advance, but when these large facilities begin to clean for Pesach, they work nonstop. At Glatt Mart, the process of switching over the meat department takes one full day. After that, all the meat they sell is kosher for Pesach. Cleaning and inspecting the kitchen take about 3–4 days, and kashering takes one full day. Mr. Sina of Glatt Mart says, “It looks like a real war zone, with everyone attacking different parts of the kitchen to get the job done as efficiently and quickly as possible.” They spend three full days switching over all the products on the shelves, including one all-nighter! Can you imagine spending the entire night at a grocery store, cleaning? Next time you take your favorite Pesach treat off the store shelf, stop and picture the hours of work that it took to get it there! 

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 703)

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