Unique Passover Remembrance: Matzah with Memory

In honor of grandfather who built matzah factory in Siberia during World War II, man donates boxes for students to distribute to needy.

Cynthia Blank ,

Matzah Distribution
Matzah Distribution

Special memorials in honor of Holocaust survivor Avraham Haim Ben-Avraham were held this week in Modi'in and Ofakim to greet the upcoming Passover holiday. 

Students from hesder (combined IDF service) yeshiva Meir Harel in Modi'in and the academy's extension in Ofakim distributed matzah to the needy in those cities to commemorate the life of Ben-Avraham. 

The boxes of matzah were donated by Ben-Avraham's grandson in remembrance. 

Ben-Avraham was expelled from Lodz, Poland during World War II and was forced to Siberia for hard labor. There, he worked as a foreman for Jewish residents chopping wood from the timber forests. 

Although he knew he was risking his and his family's lives, Ben-Avraham built a matzah-baking factory in the heart of the forest. Members of the community would stand guard while the matzah was baking. 

"He wrapped a rag around his head due to the intense heat of the improvised oven," grandson H.G. recalled. "All those involved realized they must operate in total secrecy, because if there actions were discovered, they'd be sentenced to death.

"Their mission succeeded and my grandfather was able to fulfill the community's need and bake unleavened bread."

Tzvi Seltzer, the Director of Mair Harel, said of the event: "The communal hesder yeshiva in Modi'in and Ofakim works within the community to bring people together throughout the year." 

"In the days after the elections, where tension between the sectors of the people of Israel is evident, the distribution of matzah brings people together and strengthens unity. The distribution and meeting with people is both moving and uplifting."