A whole matzoh fun! Ridgites make Passover staple

A whole matzoh fun! Ridgites make Passover staple
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

Pass the horseradish!

Budding young bakers got a taste of the Jewish matzoh-making tradition ahead of the Passover holiday at the Chabad of Bay Ridge on April 10. Kids learned every step to make the traditional flat-bread memorialized in the story of the Jews’ flight from Egypt. The synagogue’s rabbi called the day a living religious lesson.

“It’s an opportunity to learn the reason behind the matzoh,” Rabbi Tvzi Stroh said. “Not just how the matzoh itself is made — but what’s behind it.”

Kids mixed the flour and water, rolled out the dough, punched holes in it with a nifty specialty tool, and watched it turn a delicious golden-brown in the oven — all while hearing the story of Passover from the rabbi.

Matzoh became a staple of Jewish cuisine following the Jews’ deliverance from slavery in Egypt. They fled in such haste that they had no time to let their bread rise, according to the Torah, which forbids adherents from eating leavened bread during the eight-day holiday.

Matzoh-makers — including the kids at the synagogue on Sunday — must turn flour and water into the wafer-like flatbread in under 18 minutes to make sure it does not rise.

The matzoh they made was technically not kosher for Passover, because they did not use a kosher oven, kosher tools, and the often hard-to-find kosher wheat. But the rabbi said making it still gives kids a new appreciation for the traditional nosh they will eat during Passover.

“Even though it’s not the same exact matzoh, when you sit down to have something that’s been prepared for you but it’s something you’ve done yourself, you have that connection,” he said. “It gives them a closer connection to the holiday and an appreciation for the matzoh they are going to have during Passover.”

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at dlynch@cnglocal.com.
Makin’ ‘em like they used to: Shimon Yerachmiel crushes some wheat with a mortar and pestle for traditional matzah bread at the Chabad of Bay Ridge on April 10.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto