Oy Bay!

"My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west." — Yehudah Ha-Levi

More on the Matzoh Drought

Posted by FriarYid on April 22, 2008

Oyster has alerted me to more media coverage on the great Matzoh Crash of aught-eight.

From the SF Chronicle:

Many Jews said it was an unprecedented shortage.

And there are still five or six more days, depending on tradition, before observant Jews are allowed to eat any leavened bread.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of folks who are kind of at their wits’ end,” said Aaron Rosenthal, communications manager for the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. “It appears there’s been a huge disconnect between the Bay Area grocery community and the Bay Area Jewish community in terms of supply and demand.”

…Costco stores in the Bay Area didn’t stock any matzo, store operators said. Company spokespeople didn’t return calls. Trader Joe’s decided to not stock matzo nationwide – though the shortage appears largely restricted to the Bay Area.

Trader Joe’s is taking the year off to “re-evaluate” matzo, according to Alison Mochizuki, director of national publicity for Trader Joe’s, which has 41 stores in the Bay Area. “We want to hear from our customers and what they expect from us.”

They’re not happy.

… Several Orthodox Jews wryly noted that waiting until the last moment to purchase matzo didn’t treat Passover and its rituals with due respect. “For somebody truly observant, they’re not out shopping on a Saturday,” said Mark Cohen of Oakland, who attends Congregation Beth Jacob. Those who didn’t buy well ahead of time “are not planning as wisely as the holiday would dictate.”

Cute. For the record, little old Reform me bought matzoh two weeks in advance, not out of any specific religious fervor but simply because I didn’t want to have a seder using Saltines. (I’m also surprised we haven’t yet heard someone say this is why all Bay-Jews should make aliyah next year.) The Chron article is also notable for offering another theory I hadn’t heard before: maybe the shortage is related to shmita!

There’s also an article in the NY Times. The money quote:

“Being out of matzo is like being out of milk.”

(Of course, in my case it’s quite different, since I’m lactose-intolerant, but I get the idea.)

I wonder if there will be any organized backlash against all the grocers that ran out of matzoh, or in the case of Trader Joe’s and Costco, just randomly stopped carrying them?

I suppose the silver lining here is that if anyone doubted the Jewish presence in the Bay Area (or our commitment to observing Passover), here it is.

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3 Responses to “More on the Matzoh Drought”

  1. solofree said

    I wonder if it can be traced to a boycott of Israel products made by Costco and Trader Joe food buyers who are misinformed…yes, I am a conspiracy theorist and also a realist….
    anyone else equating politics with practicalities?

  2. Friar Yid said

    Solofree- I suppose it’s possible, but there are plenty of major Matzah brands that aren’t made in Israel, so I’m not sure it works.

  3. […] More on the Matzoh Drought […]

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