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Snow dusts the ground on this chilly Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn. But images of fire and smoke are smoldering in every mind.
For two decades, the religious character of the Jewish state has been facing a slow, steady erosion. But now it’s intensified into an avalanche, as Conservative and Reform activists in the US are taking square aim at the Chief Rabbinate, doing their best to destabilize and weaken the sovereignty of halachah under the banner of “pluralism.” Their victories are now motivating opposing coalitions of Orthodox Jewish interests in the US and Israel to join forces. Their mission: Defend authentic Torah Judaism.
In our journeys over the years, we’ve examined dozens of ancient matzah ovens, but most of these are just relics of now-defunct Jewish communities. That’s why we were so excited to discover some old factories still in operation; and while they’d never win an award for state-of-the-art technology, the long-standing customs — together with the fragrance of those fresh-baked matzos — are the mainstay of Pesach tradition.
They come to us all neatly bundled, washed, and ready to eat. But how do those perfectly wrapped bags of romaine lettuce get to our supermarket shelves? And can we be so sure that when we sit down to the Seder, our maror is really bug-free?