Here’s a photo I took in the grocery store last Friday. At the last minute, I decided dash out and buy some raisins to add to the charoset I was taking to seder in a few hours. To be clear, Pesach started just a few hours after this photo was taken.

Carulla's kosher section Erev Pesach

Carulla’s kosher section Erev Pesach

While there are many debates about what is and is not kasher l’Pescah (kosher for Passover), some things are pretty well decided. Chief among them is that one cannot eat Ritz crackers, Barilla pasta, or Aunt Jemima pancakes. (Or crackers, pasta, or pancakes of any kind that aren’t specially formulated for Passover and if they are, chances are good they won’t taste very good, so it’s just better to go without for eight days. After all, our ancestors wandered in the desert for 40 years. The least we can do is live without pancakes for a few days.)

The basic tenet is that leavened and fermented grain products are prohibited. This restriction commemorates our escape from Egyptian slavery, when the Jews did not have time to let their breads rise before going into the desert.

I appreciate Carulla’s efforts to carry kosher products for Bogotá’s small Jewish population. In fact, my hostess for seder Friday night bought a bottle of Manischewitz wine at a Carulla. This was great because (1) the charoset tasted as if I had made it at home and (2)  drinking Manichewitz for my first cup of wine made me less homesick. Unfortunately, there was no matzah to be found—she brought some back from the US.

While Carulla gets a A for effort, I think a little more education is in order.

PS. If you skipped it above, click on the Manischewitz wine link and read the short article, especially if you are Jewish. Such interesting history that I did not know until researching info for this blog post.