American Mosaic: Chametz is Burned in Brooklyn

American Mosaic: Chametz is Burned in Brooklyn

Since it's founding, the United States has been both a "melting pot", and a "cultural mosaic". The American Mosaic series of posts attempt to capture the interweave of American society.

Detail The Hebrew word Chametz means breaded, or leavened foods. According to the Torah, one must not possess or eat chametz during Passover. Therefore, any chametz in one's possession must be burned, nullified or sold before Passover begins. The Bi'ur Chametz (burning) ceremony involves searching for the chametz on the night before Passover with candlelight, and burning what is found, the following morning.

The New York Metropolitan area is home to the largest Jewish population outside of Israel. The borough of Brooklyn has a number of scattered Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods. This photo was taken in Bensonhurst.

I recently watched a very interesting interview that contrasts secular living with religious life on C-SPAN. Author and philosopher Alain De Botton argues, from an atheist's point of view, that secular institutions have been unable to address some of the human needs of individuals as religion has. He argues that religion, through rituals, art, repetition, sense of awe, pilgrimage and community, provides a framework unmatched in secular-only living, and that, non-believers and non-practicing people have a lot to learn from religious customs, practices and traditions.

Song of the Day: Paper In Fire - John Mellencamp (1987)
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