Matzah Scam Rocks Israel

Growing up in New York in the ‘50s I was naïve to scam artists. We knew to respect our parents and be helpful to our neighbors. The police were heroes we looked up to. At the same time we also knew that some things were sacred.

I remember my mother preparing me a special lunch to take to public school during the week of Passover. Since the bible instructed Jews to refrain from all leaven for 8 days, we switched from cake and bread to matzah, the unleavened bread eaten by our ancestors when Moses led the Jews out of Egyptian slavery to freedom.

My Italian Catholic friends loved this holiday, too, because I would always share my matzah with them. The butter, jelly or cream cheese we smothered the matzah with didn’t hurt either.

Matzah was sacred to us. In those days it was only available in a kosher market. Today you can buy it on-line and have it shipped directly from Israel. And you can find it in supermarkets wherever Jewish communities are found.

But wait! The slogan Caveat Emptor (the buyer beware) still applies.

The week before Passover Israel’s Chief Rabbinate warned Israeli citizens to be on the lookout for pirate matzah after Israeli police raided a warehouse containing a 7-ton stockpile of matzah with fake kosher certificates.

I'm not sure who the culprits are, but greed is most probably the motive. These people lack any sense of morality and their act was sacrilegious.

In Los Angeles some of the franchise supermarkets inadvertently sold “not for Passover use” matzahs on the same shelf as the "kosher for Passover" matzahs. Ultimately the buyer must be vigilant to check things out and then, check them out again.

Hopefully next year, as the slogan goes, we will be in Jerusalem and all the matzah will be kosher and we will all be a bit smarter and more cautious.


Rabbi BZ Kravitz is a crisis counselor and chaplain for several police agencies. He is proficient at scuba diving and martial arts, and is also a certified firearms instructor. He is the founder of www.Be-True.org and www.JewsforJudaism.org, non-profit organizations that promote critical thinking in response to deceptive cults and missionaries.