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April 5, 2011

The Chametz search takes a new turn

http://www.jewishjournal.com/community/article/the_chametz_search_takes_a_new_turn_20110405

Chametz game board

Chametz game board

Professor Plum in the library with a lead pipe? That might be the solution to a game of “Clue,” but in the new board game “Chametz: The Search Is On!” the more likely culprit is Professor Slivovitz,  who is sullying the house with bits of a dreaded cupcake.

Professor Slivovitz (a Passover brandy made from plums) is one of six characters, along with Mrs. Weiss and Col. Moti, who thoughtlessly wander this Passover-cleansed Jewish home with foods such as graham crackers, chocolate chip cookies or hard pretzels. Players ages 7 and older use a process of elimination to figure out who left what food in which room.

Jay Falk of Playa del Rey came up with the game while playing “Clue” with his own children and wondering why there weren’t Jewish-themed games that could engage kids as well as adults. A script coordinator for the CBS comedy “Mad Love” and video producer, Falk dabbles in graphics, so he designed the game and consulted with his local Chabad rabbis to produce the Jewish content. He formed Hazakah Inc., to produce “Chametz,” which was three years in the making.

Falk made sure to make the game Shabbat-friendly — rather than keeping track of the culprits on a notepad, as in “Clue,” players slip markers into slots on cards. The Jewish character and content are slightly unexpected — Rabbi Greenberg (“Clue” has Rev. Green) is clean-shaven, while Professor Slivovitz sports a long, gray beard and, according to the Web site, teaches endocrinology.

Hazakah also produced “Yiddishe Kop,” thinking puzzles with a Jewish bent for ages 10 to adult. “Chametz” is available on Amazon and at most Judaica stores.

For more information, visit hazakah.com.

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