Itongadol.- Rising meat prices and a shortage of whitefish, used to make gefilte fish, have conspired to make celebration much more costly.
The traditional Passover Seder meal became more expensive for the seventy percent of US Jews who, according to the Pew Research Center, participate in the annual ritual. Rising meat prices and a shortage of whitefish, used to make the traditional ‘gefilte’ fish dish eaten by Jews on Shabbat and holidays, have conspired to make this year’s celebration much more costly than usual.
Gefilte fish, Yiddish for stuffed fish, is made from several species but primarily from ground filet of whitefish. In the United States, whitefish is typically caught in the Great Lakes. This year, however, the catch was much smaller due to icy conditions which prevent fishermen from bringing in their normal catch.
According to weather.com, over ninety percent of the Great Lakes are covered in ice, which it described as the “greatest” ice cover in thirty five years.
Both wholesalers and shopkeepers interviewed by the Chicago Tribune noted a decrease in available gefilte fish, with only around ten to twenty percent of the normal catch making its way to diners’ tables.
While the idea of a gefilte fish shortage may seem trivial to some, the sale of the traditional Ashkenazic Jewish dish means big money for retailers and is considered an integral part of the holiday celebration by many.
Beef prices rose as well, reaching a thirty year high according to Meat & Poultry, an industry journal. Kosher beef, due to special Jewish slaughtering and processing requirements, typically costs more than non-Kosher beef.
Despite the high prices, however, American Jews are attending Seders in high numbers.