Canadian Jewish community rallies to help Saskatoon celebrate Passover

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Canadian Jewish community rallies to help Saskatoon celebrate Passover
WATCH: Members of the Saskatchewan Jewish community were racing against the clock to source kosher food items for Passover this week when grocery stores were unable to meet the demand in time. – Mar 30, 2021

Saskatchewan’s Jewish community is celebrating Passover this week, but a series of unfortunate events led to a scramble to access kosher foods in time for the Seder meal.

“It’s a beautiful holiday of family and community and connecting to our history,” said Saskatoon Rabbi Claudio Jodorkovsky. “There was definitely a little stress beforehand.”

Read more: Hanukkah celebrations during COVID-19 pandemic

A grocery order of matza and other kosher foods did not arrive in time for the crucial first days of Passover.

The community was left scrambling to source it elsewhere. One rabbi even drove to Calgary for a large order of matza.

The ordeal had many members concerned. One community member, Linda Epstein, said she was especially worried about this kind of travel during a pandemic.

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“If you have to order outside of the province or have people travel outside the province, it’s just absolutely not acceptable,” Epstein said. “It makes us feel like we’re not important.”

Despite it all, the community came together to facilitate the holiday meals.

Read more: Jewish leaders in Saskatchewan react to N.Y. Hanukkah attack, anti-Semitic violence

“Something beautiful happened with our Jewish youth group,” Rabbi Claudio said. “They contacted other kids in other provinces who went to buy products for us.”

Officials at Save-on Foods worked quickly to rectify the situation which — in a statement to Global News — they said was a mixup with an order. “(The) order sat on a dock for 7-9 days in Toronto causing the delay to arrive in-store.”

“I had already started the Seder and I got a call from the grocery manager saying it had come in,” Epstein said.

While the lead-up to the celebrations was stressful, Saskatchewan’s Jewish community is working to buy as many kosher products from local stores now to share its appreciation.

Read more: Multiple changes to religious gathering directions create confusion for Outremont Hasidic community

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“We want to show our support to the grocery store because they have been great with us,” Rabbi Claudio said.

Other members tell Global News they’re planning to give more than a month’s notice next time to make sure everything goes according to plan.

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