Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Free hand-made Shmurah Matzah for Passover


OCALA—The Chabad Jewish Center of Ocala and The Villages plans to distribute hand-made Shmurah Matzah this year to help local Jews participate in the upcoming Passover holiday.

Passover, celebrated this year from Friday night, April 22, until after nightfall on Saturday, April 30, commemorates the exodus of the Jews from Egypt in 1313 BCE. Directed by G-d to leave Egypt hastily, the people of Israel could not wait for their dough to rise, and thus ate unleavened crackers called matzah.

Round, kneaded and shaped by hand, present day “Shmurah” Matzahs (lit. watched matzahs) are similar to those eaten by the Jews when leaving Egypt over 3000 years ago. From the moment the wheat is harvested, the ingredients are carefully watched to ensure that they do not become leavened, which would be prohibited on Passover.

The local effort is part of a global Passover campaign that began in 1954, when the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of blessed memory, considered the most influential rabbi in modern history, launched the Shmurah Matzah initiative as part of an effort to create awareness and promote observance of the holiday.

An estimated four million hand-baked Shmurah Matzahs will be distributed by the Chabad-Lubavitch movement this year. This year’s Passover celebrations also bring added significance as Jewish communities worldwide celebrate the year of Hakhel, a once-every-seven-years opportunity to celebrate Jewish unity and learning.

“The Rebbe taught that no solitary Jewish person ought to be left out. Every Jew, regardless of their background, affiliation or even location, should have access to the provisions they need to celebrate Passover,” said Chabad Rabbi Yossi Hecht, director at the Chabad Jewish Center.

Chabad of Ocala and The Villlages has also set up a website http://www.JewishMarion.org/Passover where additional Shmurah Matzah can be obtained. These and are other site features such as a menu planner, house cleaning checklist and Seder “how-to” guide, will help to ease Passover preparations, while the site’s fun and educational activities such as the interactive seder plate keep the kids busy.


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