Before getting down to making matzah, Shmulik kept the youngsters busy by telling stories about the ancient Hebrews and their exodus from Egypt. PHOTO / Ron Feinberg

Before getting down to making matzah, Shmulik kept the youngsters busy by telling stories about the ancient Hebrews and their exodus from Egypt. PHOTO / Ron Feinberg

BY RON FEINBERG /WEB EDITOR//

Give a few energetic youngsters a little water, a pinch of flour and a wooden roller, and there’s a good chance they’ll make some matzah. At least that’s what happened last week at the MJCCA’s Sunshine School in East Cobb.

Thanks to the Model Matzah Bakery, a fun and creative program sponsored by Chabad of Georgia, the preschool kids now know that unleavened bread doesn’t just magically appear in cardboard boxes on Passover. And with a little help from a couple of young Chabadniks, Shmulik and Srolik, the youngsters also learned a bit more of the Passover story.

“The kids get hands-on experience,” Srolik said, “and learn that Passover isn’t just a story from thousands of years ago.”

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Shmulik, sporting a Pharaoh-like headdress, kept the kids entertained with matzah trivia and details about Passover while his partner Srolik did most of the heavy lifting – mixing the water and flour and whipping up batches of doughy balls for the kids to flatten.

Then, the flour flew as the youngsters banged away with rolling pins, singing a few memorable holiday songs. Meanwhile, Shmulik and Srolik coached and informed them that seeds from wheat are ground up into flour, then mixed with water before being smashed into patties.

Next, the students found out the flour and water mixture must quickly be baked before it has time to rise. It’s all much the same formula that Moses and the ancient Hebrews used when packing up and fleeing Egyptian captivity. Instead of using the sun, however, the Chabadniks toss the doughy patties into a microwave to bake and then share a few more holiday stories – “Just how many of the Passover plagues can you name?” – before letting the kids see the results of their labors.

The good news is that it only takes a few moments to magically transform the pale and wrinkled bits of dough into pale and wrinkled bits of matzah. But even better, the kids are happy, smiling and – without even knowing it – learning something new about Passover and Judaism.

Next week, we’ll have pictures from Model Matzah Bakery’s other stops!

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