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The hulking gravestones in Berdichev’s old Jewish cemetery are unlike those found anywhere else. Chiseled as if by an ancient shoemaker, the stones were long ago nicknamed valenki for their resemblance to the traditional Russian felt winter boots by that name. Who designed them that way or why is a mystery, but on a pre-Passover morning visit to this place, the scene is surreal, almost ghostly, as row after row of boot-shaped stones stretch into the distance. And then, up ahead—in the middle of the cemetery beyond buried rabbis, merchants and simple folks—is the resting place of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev (1740-1809), the great “defender of the Jewish people.”
A long curving road leads from the cemetery entrance to the famed rabbi’s
Not only does it churn out shmurah matzah in bulk, it educates thousands of Israeli schoolchildren every year
Prior to Passover 1950: The village of Kfar Chabad in central Israel had been settled just months earlier by a group of hardy survivors of Stalinist oppression and Nazi destruction.
While most of the villagers worked the land and raised livestock—eking out a living from Israel’s sacred soil—some residents took it upon themselves to explore a new avenue: a matzah bakery that
At Passover Seders each year, we recite the Haggadah’s timeless instructions to regard ourselves as having personally lived through the events of the Exodus. The Seder itself is designed to help us envision our participation in the story. We dip parsley into saltwater to remember the tears we shed in Egypt, and we munch on spicy, bitter horseradish in an attempt to replicate a little of the misery we experienced as slaves.
But how far can saltwater and horseradish really take us? For most of
Instead of rejecting our negative past, Passover teaches us how to use it
World history, from ancient to current, is replete with stories of revolutions going sour. An oppressed, downtrodden populace revolts against its tyrannical government, spurred on by the noble goal of guaranteeing liberty and equal rights for all. Not long after seizing power, those same revolutionaries become the establishment themselves, often becoming as corrupt and repressive as the predecessors they so valiantly
Traditional shmurah matzah was still a rarity in post-WWII New York
First in a two-part series on the dramatic growth in the use of handmade shmurah matzah in the last 60 years.
There’s nothing more pleasant on a cold New York winter’s day than the smell of freshly baking matzah wafting up the street. Outside the Lubavitch Matzah Bakery’s metal doors in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood, sits the world as it is, cold and blustery; inside it is Passover. They have been baking handmade