SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - On Monday, April 10, the second annual public sale and burning of chametz took place in front of the South Orange Fire Department. Rabbi Jesse Olitzky of Congregation Beth El opened the ceremony by explaining that all leftover chametz, which stands for leavened foods such as bread and cereal, need to be disposed of prior to the start of the Passover holiday, according to Jewish custom.

Rabbi Olitzky asked South Orange Village President Sheena Collum to sign an official contract whereby all chametz remaining in the homes of the members of Congregation Beth El would become her property, and automatically return to the original owners at the conclusion of the Passover holiday.

While there is a clause in the contract that gives Collum the option to declare that she wants to keep the food after all, Collum joked that was not a concern as she is on the Atkins Diet, and no carbohydrates are allowed.

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Collum and Olitzky signed the contract, which was witnessed by two Beth El congregants, Ari Kaufman and Uri Allen.

Collum thanked Rabbi Olitzky and all in attendance for including her in the ceremony, adding, ”it’s been a trying time these past several weeks for our community – it’s nice to see you all coming together to prepare for the holiday."

Rabbi Olitzky said the burning of the chametz symbolizes that all unseen chametz is returning to the dust of the earth, and the rest is in Collum's possession. Then, Olitzky lit the fire to burn the leavened foods that had been brought there.

South Orange Fire Chief Daniel Sullivan and several firefighters gave a tour of the firehouse, and the children in attendance were given information about fire safety, as well as a chance to check out the fire trucks and even practice squirting water from the fire hose.