In a unique partnership between Chabad and the New York-based Manischewitz company, ten tons of Matzah reached Lithuania’s 6,000 Jews in time for Passover. Donated by The B. Manischewitz Company, this donation was particularly meaningful in a country long part of the Soviet Union, where Matzot were baked clandestinely.
“The largest amount of Matzah received since the independence of Lithuania, this donation literally assured Jews countrywide the ability to have a kosher Pesach,” says Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky, Chabad representative to Lithuania.
The donation came through a business associate of Manischewitz and an acquaintance of Rabbi Krinsky’s, Mr. Armand Lindenbaum, whose grandfather Rabbi Moshe Avigdor Amiel lived near Vilna in the early 20th century. When Krinsky approached him several months back about the possibility of making a donation to the Jewish community of Lithuania, Lindenbaum, who visited Vilna and was surprised to find a thriving Jewish community there, facilitated the initial contact between Chabad and The B. Manischewitz Company.
From its perspective, Manischewitz, the leading manufacturer of kosher processed food products in the U.S., and the top provider of Matzah worldwide, feels the need and is honored to “give back to the Jewish community,” says executive vice president Steven M. Grossman.
One thousand people participating at Chabad’s thirteen public Seders in Lithuania, partook of the Matzah, which was distributed in Lithuania’s major cities and remote towns. Even the five lone Jews living in Svencionys—a city whose pre-Holocaust Jewish population numbered 4,000—were not forgotten. “I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your help in enabling us to conduct the Seders in Svencionys according to Jewish tradition and with kosher Matzah,” said one.
According to Grossman, this was Manischewitz’s first joint venture with Chabad, and Grossman sees the company’s relationship with Chabad as an “opportunity to make other contributions in the future.” The concerns of the general Jewish community, he says, are concerns of Manischewitz as well, and the company is pleased to contribute wherever it can.