Rabbinate: Room service only on plastic plates during Pesach
As part of Chief Rabbinate's preparations for Passover, concern rises regarding non-observant hotel guests placing chametz on kosher-for-Passover dishes, nullifying kashrut of hotel's entire kitchen once tainted dishes washed along with others. Solution: Room service only to be served on disposable plates
The Passover holiday is fast approaching, and with it, a slew of unique kosher stipulations. After ordering that products containing chametz be blocked from sale at supermarkets through barcode identification, Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger has ruled that kosher hotels must serve room service meals only on disposable plates during the holiday.
The reasoning behind this move is that guests who do not observe the dietary laws of the holiday that prohibit the consumption of leavened products may place non-kosher items on the plates, thus halachically rendering them and all the dishes in the hotel non-kosher for Passover.
In a circular distributed by the Chief Rabbinate's National Kashrut Department, municipal rabbis and kosher division managers throughout the country listed how hotels are to be made kosher for Passover. One of the guidelines initiated by Rabbi Metzger stipulated that hotels start using only disposable plates and flatware in their room service starting a week before the holiday.
The rabbi's office explained that secular guests or non-Jewish tourists are likely to use regular plates for food that it is not kosher for Passover. Subsequently, upon being returned to the kitchen, the said plates would disqualify for use all other plates in the kitchen being washed along with them. In order to prevent such unnecessary mishaps, the rabbi issued the directive t use disposable dishes only.
Some two weeks ago, Rabbi Metzger announced that the Chief Rabbinate would demand that supermarkets install a dedicated program in their cashiers that would identify chametz items prohibited from sale during the seven days of the holiday.
The technological innovation, which was developed and donated "for the sake of Heaven" by a young religious man who cares about the issue, allows the products that are not kosher for Passover to be removed from the list of products for sale by cataloguing and identifying them according to their barcode. This would effectively prevent products containing hametz from being sold accidentally.
The program was already successfully tested last year, but Metzger, who at first asked that supermarket kosher certification be conditioned on the installation of such a program during Passover, reconsidered his decision after supermarkets claimed they could not make sufficient arrangements for the new barcode in time for Passover.
Metzger said, however, that an agreement has already been reached with all the supermarkets on the matter ahead of this year's holiday, and "whoever won't manage, we will arrange for him a yeshiva student to volunteer to install the new barcode."