Simon Rocker

End the beans ban now

April 28, 2016 14:30

More Conservative Jews in the USA have been eating beans and rice this Pesach after the movement’s rabbinate lifted the ban on Ashkenazim eating kitniot, legumes.

Among the factors cited for ending a centuries-old tradition were the growing number of mixed Ashkenazi-Sephardi families or the need to cater for vegans or people on gluten-free diets.

But there is another reason why rabbis elsewhere ought to consider following suit: health.

I doubt anyone of us goes through Pesach without hearing someone complain that matzah doesn’t fill them up. And instead, amid the absence of bread, we turn to the over-salted, over-sugared processed foods that line the kosher-for-Pesach shelves in their all too apparent plenty.

When obesity is rife and the incidence of diabetes growing, there is a crying need to encourage healthier eating.

Rather, Pesach seems an open invitation to do the opposite.

Beans and others pulses can form the foundation of a sound diet. In the interests of their congregants’ health, rabbis ought to be commending Passover ful mesdames and lentil dhal.

Instead, the message seems to be “Let them eat cake”.

Simon Rocker is the JC's assistant editor (education)

April 28, 2016 14:30

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