During Passover, Ashkenazi Jews traditionally stay away from not only leavened foods like bread, but also legumes, rice, seeds and corn. The ban has been in place since the 13th century, but it’s always been controversial. And now, it’s been overturned. According to NPR, last December an international group of conservative rabbis made the decision that it’s okay to eat rice, beans and corn during Passover.
Why overrule an 800-year-old law? The Times of Israel reports that the decision was partially driven by budgetary issues. “The cost of everything is greater on Passover,” rabbi Susan Grossman told the Times and legumes are a relatively low-cost source of protein, which helps alleviate a hefty Passover grocery bill. The new ruling will also, hopefully, make for a healthier Passover. “Passover foods are high in fat and cholesterol,” Grossman said. Adding the formerly banned foods to a holiday diet could help people cut back on fatty meats and carb-heavy sides. The decision is also incredible beneficial to vegans celebrating Passover who essentially had to go without protein over a week.
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The ruling is being felt not only by Passover celebrants, but also by those who cater to them. The New York Times reports that, following the rabbis’ decree, kosher markets around the city are stocking and selling products they never sold before like popcorn, chickpeas and hummus.