As the war rages outside, workers in Kiev’s Matza factory operate in shifts spread over 24 hours a day, working round the clock to bake enough matzah in case the fighting forces them to shut their doors again.
By Anash.org reporter
As Ukraine marks the anniversary of the war with Russia, the matzah factory in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, returned to making machine matzahs for the country’s Jews.
As the war rages outside, workers operate in shifts that are spread over 24 hours a day, working round the clock to bake enough matzah in case the fighting forces them to shut their doors again.
Rabbi Meyer Stambler, who heads of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine, estimates that before the war the factories in Ukraine accounted for about 15-20% of the market share in the US for shmura matzah.
Now its workers are working overtime to produce about 100 tons of matzoh until Pesach, which will be distributed by the Federation of Jewish Communities in Ukraine to tens of thousands of Jewish households, in close cooperation with the local shluchim.
The bakery belongs to the congregation of the chief rabbi, Rabbi Yakov Dov Bleich, who is also the rabbi of the shul in the Podil neighborhood. It operates under the supervision of Rabbi Pinchas Vishetzky, chairman and founder of the Ukraine (UK) Kashrut Board.
In the past the matza was distributed free to the needy and the residents of small towns and cities or sold at a nominal cost, this year all the matza will be distributed free of charge at the 180 Jewish community centers operated by the Federation of Jewish Communities in Ukraine.
The Federation has already rushed to order 100 tons of matzoh from the bakery, the baking of which should be completed a week after Purim, in order to quickly transport them to all 180 Jewish communities throughout the country.
Shliach Rabbi Meir Stambler says that despite the difficulty, the Federation is trying to produce in Ukraine the various products required for the holidays because this shortens production and distribution times and can save money on imports.
“Last year,” he says, “the bakery in Kiev was closed, so we had no choice but to import matzah from outside Ukraine, but this time after the bakery returned to work, it will supply the matzah to the Jews of Ukraine.
“On the upcoming Pesach, there will not be a single Jewish home in Ukraine without matza, which is the bread of emuna,” Rabbi Stambler said.