NYC Regulation Targeting Matzah Bakeries Takes Effect

Photo: FrocksInStock.com

New York’s controversial environmental regulation and decree targeting all the frum community's kosher Matzah bakeries (and an estimated 130 city pizzerias) has gone into effect.

By FrumNews.com 

Brooklyn, NY — New York’s controversial environmental regulation and decree targeting all the frum community’s kosher Matzah bakeries (and an estimated 130 city pizzerias) has gone into effect.

As previously and exclusively reported on FrumNews.com, a new NYC rule introduced last year by the City’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) requires coal and wood-fire pizza stores and eateries—including matzah bakeries—to install a very costly emission control system to cut their smoke pollutants by 75% due to “global warming.”

The DEP claims that this “common sense rule” was created because “wood—and coal-fired stoves are among the largest contributors of harmful pollutants in neighborhoods with poor air quality.” but the claim is only half-baked, as the number of wood and coal ovens in the city is negligible and are mainly used in the city’s famous brick-oven pizza shops and the few Matzah bakeries.

As we pointed out, the half measure doesn’t actually remove emissions—it just adds an additional expense for New Yorkers to shoulder if they want Mehudar Shmura Matzah for Seder night. According to the owners of local Matzah bakeries, this will likely lead to the possible closure of many New York City Matzah Bakeries and their relocation to more business-friendly areas in southern red states.

These new ludicrous regulations—which mimic communism—exclude our Brooklyn and New York City Matzah bakeries from the wider Matzah bakery competitive price market worldwide.

For example, a local Matzah bakery in Boro Park, Flatbush, Crown Heights or Williamsburg would have to incur significant expenses to comply with these new regulations, significantly raising the cost of our locally produced Matzah and pushing their customers to non-New York City Matzah bakeries, which can better compete with their lower costs.

The new regulations were adopted and went into effect during this year’s Pesach on April 27th, Yud Tes Nisan, right after the 2024 Matzah baking season, this puts the city’s Matzah bakeries on track for collision with raising costs or absolving the costs ahead of the 2025 Matzah baking season.

The Path Forward?

As we detailed in our original report, a new bipartisan bill proposed by Assemblyman Sam Pirozzolo, who proudly represents the growing Frum community in Staten Island and Assemblywoman Jaime Williams, who proudly represents the Frum communities in Mill Basin and Marine Park, is trying to fight this. Their proposed compromise bill, “Preserving Our Culinary Traditions Act,” will waive the restrictions on burning wood, coal, natural gas, or other fuels to cook or prepare food.

Pirozzolo argues that this rule is anti-business and would do little to actually help the fight against pollution and global warming. He points out that Governor Hochul’s controversial bill to ban gas stoves and furnaces from new buildings gave an exception to existing restaurants, which this bill doesn’t. So why not go to the city’s iconic Matzah bakeries and Pizza shops?

A nearly identical bill is in committee in the New York State Senate, proposed by Senator Bill Weber (R-38), who proudly represents the Kehilla in Monsey and Rockland County and Senator Jessica ScarcellaSpanton.

As of press time, neither bill has progressed far in the Democrat-controlled, far-left New York Assembly or State Senate.

Askunim told FrumNews.com that these bills and efforts might pass ahead of the 2025 Matzah baking season. If passed, it would alleviate the heavy costs Matzah bakeries face. However, at least one large Matzah bakery in Brooklyn has already added the expensive sensors required by the DEP, spending nearly $700,000 on modifications, which will likely be sifted into the purchase cost of this year’s Matzah.

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One reader pointed out the reason we should fight these efforts (edited for brevity):

“Unfortunately, we don’t have that type of leadership these days (referring to Mordechai Hatzadik). We’re too forgiving and we don’t stand up for our religious values. We were tested recently during COVID-19 and we caved In, allowing secular laws to determine how we are to observe our religion in our Shuls and even in our homes as to how many relatives can sit in our Seder.

“Once we cave in and allow our traditions to be challenged over ridiculous scares, we’re doomed. It’ll never stop. Our history is full of challenges that attack our religious customs. All in the name of “compassion and sensitivity” etc., when we have the most caring and humane religion.

“Our Pesach costs are already so high that it would be practically impossible to celebrate our Holiday if Matzah prices were more costly! I can’t imagine how our one-week-a-year holiday would add to the world’s pollution.”

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