Wreck: Misplaced Matzah

Jeanette Cibelli

Though Chartwells usually does a good job of accommodating people with dietary restrictions, they made a mistake following the commencement of Passover at sundown on Monday, April 14.

The next day, Chartwells displayed two bins of matzah, the unleavened bread consumed during Passover, with a basket of fluffy dinner rolls sandwiched between the bins.  These dinner rolls are a form of leavened bread, which is strictly banned from the Passover diet. The rolls and matzah were not touching, but they were too close for comfort.

For eight days in the early spring, Jewish families gather to celebrate Passover and honor their ancestors that escaped from slavery in Egypt over three thousand years ago. During this time, a series of traditions are performed, one of which is abstaining from leavened bread.  Instead, they eat matzah.

Leavened bread is removed from the Passover diet because the Jews that escaped from slavery ate unleavened bread during their journey. If any grain is mixed with water and baked for more than 18 minutes, it is considered leavened. Leavened bread products include pasta, baked goods and typical loaves of bread.

It is a good thing that so much matzah has been made available to Jewish students, faculty and staff.  However, simply providing the matzah is not enough. There must be a certain level of respect for Judaism and its traditions, but such respect was not present. It was culturally insensitive for leavened bread to be displayed so prominently during Passover.

It is highly unlikely that this mistake was intentional. It was likely an effort to group together bread-like products and create an attractive display. However, more thought should have been given about the implications of placing leavened bread beside matzah during Passover.