The Mystery of Matza

Over three thousand years ago, famine drove a small tribe of nomadic people to Ancient Egypt seeking food. However, the unsuspecting tribe entered into a land sustained by exploiting the hungry. The abundant food of Ancient Egypt was taxed to sustain a state system that extracted food from productive farmers through the power of a priesthood, with esoteric knowledge to calculate the flood seasons, and a ruling class who spent the tax-revenue to maintain a vast army. Escape from that regime is marked by a 'seder' that recreates emergence from oppression as both an inner journey and a formation into a free people. It is not surprising that the food system that arose from that small tribe was inspired by ideals of food justice to this day.

After millennia of exile, as Israel returns to her land, Pesach can offer renewed inspiration for all peoples to transform today's dominating power; a multi-national food system fed by depletive farming systems, powered by exploitative labor, causing climate change and loss of biodiversity on an unprecedented planetary scale.
If we can grow our own organic gardens, and bake artisan breads, is it possible to bake our own kosher l'Pesach matzah?

Wheatsheaves Workshops:

1. Wheat Sheaves and Bread Tales

Experience anew why the agricultural cycle of bread is holy to the Jewish people. From the fascinating, little-know ancient Israeli practices to invoke rain and fertility, roasting parched wheat for Temple sacrifices, baking shmurah matzah from ancient emmer use din Ancient Egypt, the Lechem Panin (12 breads for the 'Encounter') of the Mishkon, bake/taste the wheat stored in Masada 2,000 years ago by by King Herod, to the diverse bread traditions of the almost-lost tribes of Israel who settled in Djerba, the Caucasas Mountains, Bukharia and India. Sing the songs of food justice and renewal for today.

2. Mystery of Matzah

Study source texts, explore ancient Israeli teachings of wheat and bread, sing Miriam's Song, and restore our matzah traditions anew. Grind flour from the almost-extinct Mother Wheat, emmer (Em Ha'Hitah) that sustained our ancestors in Eretz Yisrael, and bake matzah in the wood-fired oven at the Adamah Farm. Plant emmer seeds. Begin the journey to reclaim ancient Israeli food teachings in freedom from today's industrial food system. Learn to bake kosher matzah with your own hands and heart.

Matzah Workshop at Isabella Friedman



almost-extinct grain of ancient Mesopotamia



almost-extinct 'mother wheat' of ancient Israel

Taste the long-lost 'mother wheat' emmer (cusmin - mistranslated as 'spelt' that did not exist in the period of ancient Egypt) that grows wild in Israel, the only wheat eaten in the time of the Pharohs, used in the original matzah in Ancient Egypt, and preserved by the very people, Ethiopian Jews that were themselves almost lost. Almost-extinct einkorn ('shipon' in Hebrew), eaten by Abraham and Sara in Mesopotamia, was collect in the Golan Heights, preserved by the ancient Druze peoples. Einkorn is safe to eat for glutin-intolerant people with celiac disease

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