By Kayla Lupoli-Nolan and Jim Lo
Dressed in a wig, robe, and sunglasses, Rabbi Dovid Weinbaum teaches children about the history of matzo with his own model matzo oven.
“I bring my own equipment everywhere I go, it’s about an hour setup before each event, 45 minutes to breakdown, and everything fits into my cargo van,” Weinbaum said.
During a 45 minute presentation, Weinbaum dresses in various costumes to interact with the children and help them learn the history of Passover which started on Friday, March 30th and will end on Saturday, April 7th.
“With computers, TVs, iPods, and iTouch, it’s all about the I,” Weinbaum said.
Through the intuitive approach, Weinbaum believes that children nowadays will be more inclined to participate in his classes since there is usually a screen in front of them.
“I didn’t personally create the Matzah Bakery, but I added more elements to make it more exciting and down to kids level,” Weinbaum said. “It needs to have lights, camera, and action.”
Throughout the presentation, children learn the story, historical events, and the process of making matzah.
“Through these hands on experiences, it brings a sense of participation into the holiday” Dakota Heaney, a resident of Seaford, said.
The classes are typically for children ranging from 3-year-olds to 16 or 17-year-olds, but Weinbaum says that age isn’t a determining factor.
“For older kids, I focus on introducing Jewish Law, and the story of Passover. But I dress up as Moses with sunglasses and take Snapchats with younger kids as well,” Weinbaum said. Passover is the ceremony that commemorates the liberation of the Jewish who were enslaved in Egypt.
During the eight-day festival, families typically celebrate on the first night with a Seder which includes reading from the Haggadah and certain types of food that are mentioned – including the matzah.
“It represents the unleavened bread that the Jews did not have time to bake as they were fleeing Egypt,” Joseph Rogot, a father from Westchester County, said. “It’s an important part of the Passover story.”
The lessons that Weinbaum teaches are an opportunity to pass on their heritages history to younger generations.
“I think a 45 minute class for children to learn the significance of matzah and how it is made is a great idea,” Nicole Leventhal-Malkin, a mother from Port Jefferson, said. “It is important for all generations to understand the significance of the story of Passover.”
The history of matzah has been around for thousands of years.
“Everyone should participate and learn so they can get a better sense of who we are, the depth, and beauty of the Jewish religion and culture,” Matthew Behar, a resident of Connecticut said.