By Lindsay Melvin, The Commercial Appeal
Its only ingredients are water and flour, and it is referred to in the Bible as the “Bread of Affliction.”
But for the dozens of kids who came to the Chabad Center for Jewish Life on Thursday, matzoh wasn’t a hard sell.
“I put jelly on them. They’re really good with jelly,” said fourth-grader Rosie Gruen from Bornblum Solomon Schechter School.
At Chabad’s small-scale matzoh bakery in East Memphis, students from area Jewish schools made the simple flat cracker used during Passover.
Once the hyper energetic gathering got done fiddling with chef hats and wielding rolling pins like Samurai swords, Rabbi Levi Klein showed the kids how it’s done.
“You take the dough and then bang it down on the table flat, flat, flat,” said the apron-clad rabbi.
Klein has been teaching Memphis kids how to make matzoh for 14 years.
“Matzoh is the main aspect of Passover,” Klein said. “It’s called the holiday of matzohs in the Torah.”
Classes took turns at the bakery throughout the day, learning about the eight-day holiday that begins Wednesday evening.
Standing before a cardboard wall of brick with a pizza oven at the center — for this day dubbed “the matzoh oven” — Klein told the story of Passover and the Jews’ escape from slavery in Egypt.
“Jews didn’t have time, they had to rush,” the rabbi said, explaining why the bread is unleavened.
While most students were accustomed to the perfect square store-bought matzoh, typically the size of dinner plates, fourth-grader Jacob Malkin gave his little rolled-out piece of dough a funny look.
“Mine looks like a turtle,” he said.
As he placed the students’ creations in the oven, Klein observed that the first children he tutored in the fine art of matzoh making are now grown and tell him they have fond memories of those lessons.
“It’s to bring the holiday alive for children and the children within us,” he said.
Sixteen minutes later, the handmade breads were ready.
“Come taste your scrumptious, tasty matzoh,” he said.