Bintel Blog

Offbeat Israel: Seder v. Soccer

By Nathan Jeffay

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So the Children of Israel made matzo, we are told, because they were in a huge rush to leave Egypt. Well you will never guess where Israel’s largest matzo bakery, Matzot Aviv, has exported matzo to this year.

Egypt, a company source tells the Bintel Blog. The shipment has already arrived and Egypt’s Jewish community will be enjoying the matzot tomorrow night.

Matzot Aviv, which sends hundreds of thousands of matzot to the United States, also ships to one of the world’s smallest Jewish “community.” It’s one man who lives on Wallis, a small island in the Pacific Ocean.

Other destinations for Aviv’s matzot include Singapore and Korea.

But despite the geographically impressive list of demand Israeli matzot, it seems that the economic crisis is hitting matzo exports. The Israel Export Institute has reported that while matzo exports — more than half of which go to the U.S. — rose by 31% last year, making them worth $12 million, they are expected to drop by 5% to 10% this year.

Keen readers of rabbinic texts may be surprised by this, as matzo is always referred to as “the bread of poverty” — the food you buy when you can’t afford the good stuff. So you might think that matzo should be selling like (if you pardon the chametz-ridden expression) hot cakes.

Well, we suspect the “bread of poverty” moniker was invented before the rabbinic supervision fee was invented.


Many Israelis will be asking a Fifth Question at their Seders this year: “What is the score?”

Israeli soccer fans have rarely been more excited about a match than about Wednesday’s Champions League clash between British clubs Liverpool and Chelsea. You see, Liverpool boasts Israeli player Yossi Benayoun, a national hero in these parts.

The media has been quoting different soccer fans explaining how they will balance their desire to hold a Seder and their determination to follow the game.

One man interviewed by Haaretz said that will go as far as to steam through the Haggadah in order to start the meal by the start of the game at 9.45 p.m. and then sing the concluding songs during half time.


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