New York law on wood-fired ovens could hit matzah bakeries

The city's Charedi community said the costs of compliant equipment could put them out of business


(JNS) New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection has recently proposed new regulations that would require restaurants and bakeries using coal or wood to prepare their food would need to install emission filters to reduce their smoke output by 75 per cent.

“This is the religious tradition for all these years,” said Alter Eckstein, pointing out that gas stoves cannot reach the heat needed for the process. “It’s also about the religion. This is how we bake for the past thousands of years, and we don’t want to change anything.”

Eckstein, 36, manages Satmar Broadway Matzah Bakery and had spent more than $600,000 in anticipation of the regulations, along with appeasing his neighbors who had sometimes complained about pollution caused by the business.

City Councilman Ari Kagan, who represents District 47 in Brooklyn, N.Y., pledged to defend the bakeries, asking “Why are we going after them? It’s completely opposite to what we should be doing.”

“I am totally against it,” he said. “It is wrong.”

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