Kennedy Order Permits Import of Israeli Flour for ‘shemura’ Matzo

President Kennedy signed a proclamation today permitting the import of some five tons of Israeli wheat flour for the baking of Passover “shemura” matzo in this country.

The President acted after three New York members of Congress–Senator Jacob K. Javits, Senator Kenneth Keating and Representative Leonard Farbstein–had appealed to him on behalf of their Orthodox Jewish constituents, who said they were unable to get the wheat elsewhere to confirm to Orthodox requirements.

A Presidential order permitting the flour to enter this country was necessary because there is no Israel wheat import quota. Although whole wheat was originally requested, it would have required undergoing a fumigation process, making it non-Kosher. Wheat is under strict U.S. quarantine regulations. The Department of Agriculture, working with Agudat Israel, suggested the import of the flour ground in Israel as a compromise which was acceptable to the Orthodox organization.

The President’s proclamation said that, without the Israeli wheat, “many thousands of Jews would be unable to complete one of their most solemn religious observances, the Passover Seder, and would have been left without their most important food for eight days.”

NEXT STORY