Newsletter : 5fax0418.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
April 18, 1995, V3, #71
All the News the Big Guys Missed
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What do Lubavitch Chasidim and Coca Cola Have in Common?
By Terri Keefe (Washington)
Four years ago, Chanie Deitsch and her Lubavitcher rabbi husband
moved to the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington to instruct
fellow Jews about Orthodox Jewish practices. She and her husband
run a Hebrew school, a summer camp, and many holiday programs,
including the model matzah bakery for children. Mrs. Deitsch says
this project has been one of the couple's most successful endeavors
because it gives youngsters a chance to make unleavened bread, one
of the most important symbols of Passover:
"The process of making matzah and the way that it differs from
bread is that matzah has to take 18 minutes or less (to make). As
soon as it becomes more than 18 minutes, then it is considered
leavened and it is considered sort of like a bread product. So, if
a child could actually see that, and understand that you have to
mix the water, mix the flour, find out the ingredients that make
matzah, make sure that it gets into the oven within 18 minutes --
they have a greater appreciation for matzah."
Chisky Goldstein, a rabbinical student from Detroit, is in charge
of the matzah making demonstration. His audience includes 26 four
and five-year-olds from the Olam Tikvah preschool in Fairfax, Va.
The children are gathered around a long table in the school's
cafeteria, looking at him attentively:
Goldstein: "Now, why do we eat matzah on Passover? Why don't we
eat something good, like a piece of chocolate cake?"
Child: "The slaves, they carried the matzah on their backs."
Goldstein: "When the Jews were on their way out from Egypt,
Pharaoh told them 'go, go, go -- get out fast.'"
Behind Goldstein are two portable canvas stalls, labeled 'flour'
and 'water,' designed to show the children how those two elements
would be separated in a real, kosher bakery. Each of the stalls
has a plastic window, so the children can see inside, and flaps
that open to a table between the two stalls. On the table is
a large mixing bowl. Goldstein explains the reason for this
"Why can't we just make the matzah in one room and that would be
the way we make matzah? The reason is because in big matzah
bakeries, right, if you're going to have flour and water in the
same room, they're going to start touching each other and getting
mixed up. It's going to sit together longer than 18 minutes and
then it won't be matzah anymore and we have to have strictly kosher
matzah for Passover. That's why we have it in two sealed off rooms
and here we have two little booths to give you an idea of what it
is. So I'm going to need now two volunteers; I'm going to need one
water boy and one flour girl."
With a little nudging from their teachers, flour girl Deborah and
water boy David get in position in their respective booths. The
children seem nervous about what to do next. But Chisky Goldstein
is quick to reassure them. He says they are just like the man in
a real matzah factory, the baker who waits for his cue to mix
the two ingredients:
"He doesn't know when to pour the flour. He has a little window,
something just about like this but it's a little more sealed off.
Now, when they say chemach -- they say flour -- the guy opens up
his window and pours the flour into the bowl."
Goldstein holds the bowl as Deborah and David pour in the flour and
water. He mixes the dough with his hands and then breaks it apart
for the children. If 26 kids are to knead and roll this matzah,
he's got to move quickly. No one is timing his demonstration, but
technically, he's got just 18 minutes. The matzah maker moves and
talks as if a stopwatch were ticking. The children flatten their
dough, roll it into circles and prick it with a fork. Then they
march single file into the kitchen for the final step: baking.
"Okay guys, it's going to be ready in one minute, it's really going
to be ready. Okay, checking out those matzahs ...."
Delighted with their accomplishment as matzah bakers, the children
are told they will each get some to take home. Along with the
matzah, Lubavitcher Chanie Deitsch says the children also will
bring home a deeper understanding of Passover. Teaching
four-year-olds about their faith may be a small step, she
acknowledges, but Chanie Deitsch says it's a step in the right
Lubavitcher and Jewish educator Deitsch likes to repeat a joke
about the members of her Orthodox community. "What do you find
wherever in the world you go? Coca-Cola -- and the Lubavitch."
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