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By Micah Halpern
There will most probably be a shmura matzah shortage this year. And this shortage really is, unquestionably, Vladimir Putin’s fault.
Shmura matza is also known as hand-baked round matzah.
Ukraine produces 20% of the world’s grain. And surprisingly – they are a huge producer of the world’s shmura matzah. In one city alone, the city of Dnipro, hey have 2 very large matzah bakeries. Chabad also has a matzah bakery in Dnipro.
Most of Ukraine’s matza is normally exported, some is made for internal use. On average, former Soviet Republics eat more matzah than most other people. They average over 2 pounds per person. Twice as much as the matzah allocation for an IDF soldier.
Tiferes HaMatzos, one of the factories in Dnipro, employees 100 people. Many of the workers have been baking matzah for generations - 3,4 and even 5 generations. They get their water from a well which sits 145 feet below ground.
Under the oppressive Soviet regime, matzah baking was mostly illegal. But matzohs need to be baked and eaten on Passover and so underground matzah bakeries were organized. Locals would bring their own flour and give it to the bakers to turn into shmurah matzah. When they could, they also baked and tried to supply matzah for the rest of the community.
In Ukraine today there are 116 Jewish communities that will get matzah, but there will not be much matzah for export. Because of the Russian invasion, there will obviously be fewer people in each of those communities to enjoy their homemade matzah.
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27 March 2022 10:53 PM in Thoughts
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