JERUSALEM - Observant Jews in Israel craving a smoke during the weeklong Passover holiday that started 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.
Only about 20 percent of Israeli Jews identify themselves as Orthodox, but almost all observe Passover in some way.
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