With Passover beginning with last evening's sunset, South Florida's Jewish population is gettin' all kosher -- and for the real hardcore the rules apply even to their pets. "Sales definitely go up around the holidays and the Sabbath," says Barbara Ratner, of Holistic Pet Cuisine in Boca Raton, which has been moving lots of kosher pet food in the days before the holiday.
The Torah dictates that in advance of the holiday Jews must rid their houses of all "chemetz" -- basically anything that contains grain or leavening products. Though there's some debate within the Jewish community whether that applies to the ingredients in pet food, many have erred on the side of caution. Before the Chicago company Evanger's began producing kosher pet food, Jews would feed pets outside, figuring they'd err on the side of caution.
Ratner says she sells the kosher pet food year round, and she's become used to the rather odd requests -- such as Jewish customers leery of grain-containing doggie treats. "They want me to break up the treats so that they don't have to," she says.
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It begs the question: Will dogs and cats eat matzo? Because that's exactly what the human Jews are expected to eat on the first night of Passover.