Passover on French Polynesian island

Sunday, March 25, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
Dr. Michael Koberiner, a French-Jewish dentist is the only Jew on the island of Wallis and will celebrate Passover on this tiny island, the first time someone has celebrated the holiday on this French-Polynesian island.

Wallis is an island located in the South Pacific between Hawaii and New Zealand and has been a French territory since 1961. Nearly 15,000 people live on the 274-kilometer island. Most of the residents are of Polynesian origin and a small minority of French descent. Less than half of the residents know how to read and write.

Because it is impossible to purchase Matzot on the island, a Haggadah and kosher wine for Passover, Dr. Koberiner researched on the internet and found the company, Matzot Aviv. Through the Israeli company he was able to request a special delivery for Passover and celebrate a Passover according to Halacha (Jewish Law). The package, which took two months to arrive on the secluded island, included different kinds of Matzot, kosher for Passover cakes, wine and a Haggadah. It made a journey from Israel to the Fiji Islands and finally to Wallis island.

Some of the residents on the island will celebrate the holiday with Koberiner and taste matza for the first time in their lives.

Dr. Koberiner was sent to the remote island by the French government. While he has been working there for three years, this will be the first time he is celebrating Passover according to Halacha.

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