Rabbi Levi Krinsky puts rolled matzo dough into an oven in the gym of the Jewish Federation of New Hampshire. (photo: Grant Morris, The Nashua Telegraph).
An article in Tuesday's Nashua Telegraph, Rabbi's Bakery Blends Families, Bread, by Dean Shalhoup, featured a lively profile of New Hampshire’s Rabbi Levi Krinsky in action running Chabad's model matzah bakery. From the story:
Scott Schaeffer and his family buy their matzo bread at the store, he says, only because "we don't have the (utensils) to make it at home."
But that didn't stop the 11-year-old Brookline youth from diving right into the clouds of flour that rose from several tables at the Jewish Federation of New Hampshire center Sunday, where he and a couple of dozen other kids gathered for Rabbi Levi Krinsky's famous Model Matzah Bakery, a fun-and-learning experience that he holds each year just before Passover.
Model Matzah Bakery, an outreach program that encourages Jewish children and their families to participate in one of the faith's oldest traditions, is a project of Chabad Lubavitch New Hampshire, of which Krinsky is director. Children begin the afternoon by watching an educational video, then get to don plastic aprons and paper hats to follow Krinsky's step-by-step directions to make their own matzo (sometimes spelled "matzah" or "matzoh") bread from scratch.
Krinsky, a colorful instructor with boundless energy, floated between speech and traditional chants as he coached his little matzo chefs through the process. Using wooden spindles about 18 inches long and tapered at both ends, the kids worked the ball of dough they'd just mixed into flat, round matzos, the unleavened, cracker-like staple of Passover.
Parental spectators, both amused by Krinsky's style and impressed by his knack for keeping his fledgling students focused and interested, leaned in to watch and offer the occasional guiding hand.
Scott, a student at Captain Douglass Academy in Brookline, is also something of an actor, his mother, Lynda Schaeffer, added – he's appeared in commercials for "Transformers" on cable TV's Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.
For Krinsky, his popular program is all about making learning effective by making it enjoyable for the kids.
"This is indeed one of our more fun activities," he said after making sure all matzos had been removed from the oven and placed on a giant foil sheet to cool.
"By doing hands-on things like making matzo," Krinsky said, "children are able to appreciate this age-old Jewish tradition and learn the history of their faith.