Meet your new burekas shapes

Rabbinate spends months on flaky challenge of changing the appearance of popular pastry.

By
June 14, 2013 02:51
2 minute read.
HAGGAI BAR-GIORA (left) and Yaakov Sebag

HAGGAI BAR-GIORA (left) and Yaakov Sebag 370. (photo credit: Courtesy Devora Ginzburg)

After deliberating for several months on the weighty problem of burekas shapes, the Chief Rabbinate has devised a new set of conventions to ensure maximum compliance with Jewish dietary laws.

The small baked pastries, which contain a variety of different fillings, have, in Israel, traditionally been triangular shaped if they contain a dairy filling, and quadrilateral in nature if parve – that is, neither dairy nor meat.

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This is all about to change, due to long-held fears from within the kashrut department of the Chief Rabbinate that the old guidelines were not being adhered to and people were becoming confused which burekas were dairy and which parve.

This is problematic, since Jewish law proscribes the consumption of dairy products for a certain number of hours – depending on different traditions – after eating meat or poultry. The burekas-shape convention was designed so that those observing the laws of kashrut would not inadvertently partake of dairy comestibles before the prescribed number of hours had elapsed.

According to the new guidelines, it is now the parve pastries that must be either triangular or, alternatively, spiral shaped, whereas dairy burekas may be either loopy in shape or in the form of a “broad finger.”

The rabbinate has also issued rules for sweet pastries such as croissants and rogelach, stating that they must be crescent- shaped if dairy and linear if they are parve.

Bakeries failing to abide by these new guidelines will not be able to claim kosher status and will have their kashrut license revoked.

In a missive to the media, the rabbinate explained that burekas present a unique problem for observant Jews, since they are “not sold in any packaging and are frequently served without any signs that would allow someone who is observant of Jewish dietary laws to discern whether the product is dairy or parve.”

“The shape of burekas is therefore the only reasonable means through which the nature of the product can be discerned,” the rabbinate said.

“In recent years, creativity in the field of pastries has greatly increased, thank God, and the range of tastes and flavors has grown along with the variety of shapes. The increased diversity has also led to an increase in mistakes however, and therefore it has been necessary for the rabbinate to establish these guidelines,” the statement to the media explained.

The process of creating the new pastry principles was begun several months ago in cooperation with the big baking conglomerates and will take affect on August 7.

The rabbinate insisted that the measures were necessary in order to comply with dietary laws, citing the seminal work on Jewish law, the Shulchan Aruch, which prohibits making dough with milk without some form of outward indication that the product is dairy in order to prevent someone from consuming it with meat.


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