Chabad Model Matzah Bakery Gives Students Opportunity to Make Their Own Matzah
Shmuli Levertov grinds wheat with Mushka Johnson, while John Eisenberg looks on. Credit: Ariella Johnson.
By Michelle Kaman
Flour and chaffs of wheat covered Chabad of Austin's floor as children from as far away as Elgin came together to make their own matzah at the Model Matzah Bakery.
Kids had the chance to explore the process of making matzah as they ground their own wheat, blew away the chaffs, poured the flour and water, rolled out the dough, and poked the holes. In 18 minutes from start to finish, they enjoyed the crunch of their own fresh out of the oven matzah.
Shmuly Levertov was in town to celebrate the holiday with his family and led the event with animated enthusiasm.
“It was such a joy to see how he engaged the kids in the process,” said Adam Kaman. “My kids had such a good time!”
The afternoon and early evening of March 24 was busy. Each half hour marked the start of a new shift, as kids gathered at the Chabad to take part in the excitement.
When asked why she and her family drove over an hour to participate in this event, Adrianna Ancona said, “I believe it is crucial that Jewish children participate and understand the relevance of our holidays and traditions. The Matzah Bakery is an event that reconnects us to our Jewry.”
She added, “[My favorite part was] being able to experience making matzah with our hands. [It] gives us an idea of how it [is] done and the meaning of it. These programs help nourish our Jewish souls.”
"Every event we do for the kids has to be hands on,” explained Rochel Levertov, co-director of the Chabad of Austin and director of the Hebrew Preparatory School. “Play-based learning is not just for the students at Hebrew Prep, it is an essential part of bringing a love of Judaism to everyone in our greater Austin community."
Other events throughout the year have included a carnival and play for Purim, menorah making at Home Depot for Hanukkah, a dance party for Simchat Torah, and the Shofar Factory for Rosh HaShanah. With the future relocation to larger facilities for both the school and the synagogue in the Northwest Hills neighborhood, the events are expected to draw even larger crowds. ■
For more information on events for kids, families, millennials and xennials, including Bat-Mitzvah Club; classes; individual learning; prison chaplaincy; home-bound care; holidays; synagogue; services for those visiting or new to Austin; Camp Gan Israel; and more, visit chabadaustin.com. Also, look for information on upcoming events on social media.