06 - Passover Matzos

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(From the tapestry): "March 1939. Every year before Passover, the Jewish women of Mniszek would gather at Mottel the shoemaker’s house to bake matzos. Mottel would score the matzos and pass them to his son Yankel to bake. Each woman would make the dough for her own matzos, which the other women would roll out. My mother, who is making the dough here, was one of the best dough makers because she mixed her ingredients perfectly without having to add flour or water which would have made them not kosher for Passover. To me this was the most exciting time, watching everyone working so quickly with the aroma of the matzos filling the room. These were the last matzos we ever had in Mniszek.”

Embroidery and fabric collage, 1998.

32-3/8″W x 20-1/16″H

Transcript of Narration

Before Passover, the women of Mniszek would gather to make matzos at the house of Mottel the shoemaker, who had the largest oven in the village. Mottel is standing at the oven and his son is scoring the matzos, while the women each make the dough for their own matzos. Esther’s mother stands at the back and Esther would say with great pride that her mother made the best matzos in the village. 

 

Esther was also pleased that the fabric she found for the curtains in the back looked just like the damask curtains in Mottel’s house. Esther was always on the lookout for fabric that would replicate some essential detail of her memory.

 

Although the picture gives off the warmth and industry of the matzo-making, Esther’s last words tell us that these were the last matzos they ever had in Mniszek, lending a sad final note.