Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men burn leavened items in a final preparation before the Passover holiday in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish town of Bnei Brak, near Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday, March. 25, 2013. Jews are forbidden to eat leavened foodstuffs during the Passover holiday that celebrates the biblical story of the Israelites' escape from slavery and exodus from Egypt. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
JERUSALEM (AP) -- Observant Jews in Israel craving a smoke during the week-long Passover holiday that starts at sundown Monday can now enjoy a rabbi-approved puff.
It's the first time cigarettes have joined the long list of goods stringently checked to ensure they comply with Passover rules on what items are allowed, or kosher for the holiday -- meaning they have not come in contact with grains or other forbidden ingredients.
The stamp of approval came from the Beit Yosef private rabbinic group, which certifies foods as compliant with Jewish dietary restrictions. Last month, Beit Yosef approved three local cigarette brands for smoking during Passover. The chief rabbinate in Israel, however, disapproved of the measure, saying cigarettes are life-threatening and should not be approved by rabbis.
"Poison is not kosher. For all days of the year, not just Passover," said the chief rabbinate's spokesman, Ziv Maor.