The Model Matzah Bakery was held this past Sunday at the Miami Beach JCC, hosted by The Friendship Circle for children and teens with special needs. The Matzah Factory is an interactive educational experience for children of all ages to experience the story of the exodus of Egypt and bake their own Matzah. This event brought children and their buddies together for a hands-on educational experience exploring the history and significance of Passover, and of matzah.
As the event began, Rabin engaged the kids with a feeling of being in the palace, then we moved to a “farm,” where they separated kernels from wheat stalks. A few young volunteers and their buddies ground them into flour as their friends chanted, “Turn it! Grind it! Crunch it!” Then dough was made. A “water boy” and a “flour girl” went into two booths with a plank running between them to hold the stainless steel mixing bowl. The kids rolled the dough to rounds the size of pita — though sometimes misshapen — and puncture them so they stay flat when baked. By this point, many children were wearing as much flour as they have kneaded; what a great sensory activity it was! At the end they had the opportunity to eat their own matzah, which they truly enjoyed.
The Matzah Bakery provides children with a very fun experience but also helps to develop a profound appreciation for the holiday. It allowed for our participants to prepare for the festival in a meaningful and interactive manner. Today, more than ever, parents appreciate opportunities like this to share their Jewish heritage and tradition with the next generation. The added dimension of this experience being inclusive of the special needs community is what makes it even more special. Most of these children lack some of the Jewish experiences their typical peers participate in and having this inclusive opportunity is ever more important for them. As Passover celebrates the notion of triumph and freedom, may this Model Matzah Bakery may remind us that we are greater than our “supposed” limitations!