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Jewish Journal

Matzah, Matzahman

by Naomi Pfefferman

April 8, 2004 | 8:00 pm

"Everyone wanted to clone our mother, which is why we created our Dancing Matzahman, said Davida Lampkin-Tydings. Actually, the singing, swaying doll -- voted best new Passover item at the 2003 Kosherfest -- looks like a male chef wearing matzah print. But press his foot, and the plush figure raps in the voice of Lampkin-Tydings' mother, Pauline S. Lampkin, whose photo is on the tag. The tag also credits Lampkin as the "vocalist": "I became a rapper at 94," she said, looking impeccable in a blue velvet pants suit.

Her matzah doll, which  is available at Ralphs and Judaica shops, is the latest matzah mania product by Lampkin-Tydings' company, Davida Aprons & Logo Programs Inc., which specializes in "kitchen kitch." The doll's song is composed by Jewish musician Craig Taubman.

But long before Matzahman, the elderly Lampkin was making an impression. At trade shows, she stood out as Davida Aprons' indefatigable bookkeeper: "People call her the 'human calculator,' because she still does all the figures in her head," her daughter said.

Mom continued manning the company's Huntington Park office, even while battling cancer in the 1990s. She's one of the oldest people ever to have completed AIDS Walk Los Angeles. And she regularly participates when Davida and her sister, Sybil Lampkin-Rubin, brainstorm new Passover products, for example, an award-winning matzah ball timer.

"But at trade shows, people would always say, 'We love your mother. Can we buy her?'" Lampkin-Tydings said.

That question started the matzah doll rolling. Yet one could very well wonder: If Matzahman is inspired by Lampkin, why is he male? The reason, according to Lampkin-Tydings, was that the doll was originally supposed to sing a parody of the Village People song, "Macho Man"; by the time she discovered the royalties would be prohibitive the figure was already designed as male.

"So we decided to make him my boyfriend instead, " Lampkin said.

Now her daughters are designing a new line of products that will feature mom's photo, including a mug, a menu chalkboard and, of course, something Passovery.  "You know that elderly woman who used to say, 'Where's the beef?'" Lampkin-Tydings said. "Mom could say, 'Who's hiding the matzah?'"

For more information, visit www.davidaaprons.com .

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