Brooklyn matzah bakery damaged in fire


(JTA) — A matzah bakery in Brooklyn was heavily damaged in a two-alarm fire.

The blaze broke out early Tuesday morning in the bakery owned and run by Congregation Yetev Lev D’Satmar, the main synagogue of the Satmar Hasidic sect, in the Williamsburg section of the New York City borough. The bakery has made matzah there for 60 years, DNAinfo reported, citing city records.

The fire, first reported by the Yeshiva World News website, appeared to have been caused by a new wood-burning oven that had been used the prior day for the first time. The building did not have a sprinkler system in place near the ovens, according to reports.

The congregation owes the city $41,293 in fines for outstanding code violations, DNAinfo reported, citing city records, including a hefty fine for not having sprinklers in the area where they had wood-burning ovens or in a storage area with combustible boxes holding the matzahs.

“The damage was extensive to the matzah,” Rabbi David Niederman, head of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn, told DNAinfo, speaking on behalf of the bakery. “It’s a tremendous loss, but it’s not an issue that there will be no matzah.”

The matzah production is expected to resume in the coming days after receiving approval from the city, according to The Yeshiva World, which reported that older ovens located in another area of the building were not hurt by the fire.

The bakery’s specialty is handmade shmura matzah, the artisanal, disc-shaped matzah considered extra special because the ingredients are “guarded” against leavening before the wheat is even harvested.


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