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.
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
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.