“הלילה הזה כלו מצה.” One of the highlights of the year at the Lev Chana HALB Early Childhood Center is when the model matzah bakery comes to visit. All the children enjoyed putting into practice what they learned about making matzah, and read about in The Mouse in the Matzah Factory, by Francine Metoff. We learned how to separate the wheat seeds from the stalk as two helpers blew and blew the pieces of chaff until only the seeds remained. The children had to flex their muscles and grit their teeth as they turned the handle of the mini flour mill and ground the seeds into flour. Whew! That was hard work!
Then two more assistants were called upon, each one standing in separate booths labeled Kemach (flour) and Mayim (water). When Reb Michoel gave the signal and started the special, one of a kind, 18-minute clock, one assistant handed him a pitcher of water, and then the second handed him a pitcher of flour. He mixed the dough very quickly, as the children lined up alongside tables with their rolling pins, waiting for a piece of dough. They quickly rolled out, flattened, and, to keep the dough from rising, made holes with a really cool spikey roller. The children were amazed at how short 18 minutes can be. Hurry! Hurry! They then carried their dough on their rolling pins to the special matzah oven. Twenty-four seconds later, the matzah was ready! Yum! They were all excited to eat their matzah for lunch and they even got to take home their very own shmurah matzah kosher l’pesach.
Back in their classrooms, the children were asked to predict what takes longer to make, matzah or challah, and filled in Venn diagrams with the differences and similarities between the two. It took almost a whole day to make challah and 18 minutes to make matzah. The final choice the children had to make was which they thought tasted better. Lucky for them they were able to enjoy the taste of both! v