Passover, also called Pesach in Hebrew, celebrates the mass exodus of the Jewish people out of Egypt and the miraculous parting of the Red Sea. We have a special ceremony and meal on the first two nights of this holiday and we eat only unleavened bread called matzah.
|Traditional Passover seder plate, detail from the Model Matzah Factory sign|
|Handmade sign outside covered with plastic to protect it from the rain|
|Steep steps up to the pop-up Matzah Factory looked like a waterfall, add charm|
|Teen volunteers match up with Friendship Circle Kids for a unique experience|
|Moses invites kids to journey back in history via a pyramid time machine|
Following a series of ten plagues starting with frogs flying onto to Pharaoh and his throne and culminating with the smiting the first born, Pharaoh was finally convinced by Moses to release the Jews from slavery. But he insisted they leave almost immediately so there was not enough time for their dough to rise. That's the origin of Matzah which the ancient travelers carried on their backs as they left Egypt headed for The Promised Land which today is known as Israel.
|Pharaoh finally answers Moses' Demand, "Let my People go"|
Starting with Mr. Farmer, the children got to use an old-fashioned hand crank mill to grind raw wheat into flour.
After leaving the farm complete with red barn, they entered the forest where they were met by the cook who showed everyone how to draw water from a pretend well and then mix it with the wheat flour.
Then it was on to the bakery. Here, long tables awaited with a ball of dough at each place and all the tools needed for each child to roll their own handmade round matzah.
|Basic equipment: A hat, rolling pin, and a tool to prick holes in dough preventing rising|
|My 16 year old shows his TFC Kid how to flatten the dough into a disk|
The baker then slid everyone's flat dough disks into a very hot oven. The aroma of matzah baking enveloped the room. Just a few minutes later out popped warm, freshly-baked small matzahs for everyone to eat.
|The Chabad Baker places the kids' matzahs in a real oven to bake|
|Model Matzah Baker Mural at Chabad House, Westwood adjacent to UCLA|
As for that rain, it's still coming down this evening. Reminds me of Albert Hammond's 1973 hit song It Never Rains in Southern California. Especially the part,"But girl, let me warn ya ... man, when it rains, it really pours."
What kinds of Passover activities and arts and crafts will you be doing with your kids leading up to the eight day festival that this year begins the night of April 7th? Please leave a comment as it would be really fun to share ideas here.