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Jewish Journal

Give Matzah a Hand

by Judy Zeidler

March 25, 2004 | 7:00 pm

I still remember the first year we served shemurah matzah at our seder.... It was in the early 1960s and we were living on a ranch in Topanga Canyon. We received a letter from Chabad offering us a box of shemurah matzah for our seder, no charge, all we had to do was pick it up in Westwood. We had never heard of shemurah matzah, and thought that it was a wonderful idea. When we arrived to pick up the matzah, the Chabbad rabbi explained their meaning and that everyone at the seder should have the experience of seeing and tasting this matzah.

Shemurah matzah is matzah baked by hand from wheat that has been guarded from the time of harvest. This is to ensure that the flour does not come in contact with any moisture. The matzah is baked within 18 minutes. This is done to avoid any possibility of fermentation

Because we were having 25 people each night of Passover, we asked him for three boxes. He was so surprised, and said he thought is was wonderful that a young couple living on a ranch with five children were having that many guests for their seder. Every year since, we have included shemurah matzah for our seder. It is always interesting to hear our guests' comments on which type of matzah they prefer. And it always brings on a discussion about the history and importance it plays during the Passover holiday.

After many years of getting our shemurah matzah from Chabad it has become available in kosher markets, as well as large supermarkets.

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