Shatzer Matzohs, Brooklyn bakery with a loyal following, appears to have closed


(New York Jewish Week) — Shatzer Matzohs, a matzah bakery that has operated for decades and gained a loyal following, may not be producing the unleavened bread ahead of Passover this year.  

“At this point in time, we’re not baking,” said a person speaking on Shatzer’s phone line who identified herself as the owner but declined to give her name.

The owner told the New York Jewish Week that the closure is “temporary,” but that she does not know what the future holds. Another person at the Shatzer phone number said in a subsequent call that the factory may indeed reopen ahead of Passover, but that it has not started baking yet, as it would have at this point in time in previous years.

Rabbi David Bashevkin, a writer and the director of education for the Orthodox youth group NCSY, recalled the brand, which is produced in a factory in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Kensington, as being “the matzah of my childhood.” 

“For many people, it had a reputation as the best matzah bakery in the tri-state area, which by definition means it’s the best matzah in the world,” Bashevkin told the New York Jewish Week. 

The owner would not comment on why the factory is closing or the history of the company. American Jewish historian Zev Eleff told the New York Jewish Week that he was able to find advertisements for the company in Yiddish newspapers that date back to the 1960s. P.Y. Mund, an amateur Jewish genealogist, also pointed to an advertisement for Shatzer Matzah in a 1949 Yiddish newspaper.

In recent decades, the factory also opened up to group tours. According to a description and video footage of the tours, employees said “l’shem matzas mitzvah,” roughly translated as “for the sake of matzah eaten as a mitzvah,” throughout the baking process.

“It was a staple,” said Eleff, who serves as the president of Gratz College, a Jewish institution outside of Philadelphia. “The idea of family-owned and tradition, that was a commodity. It’s an important quality, and I think that’s something that’s now lost.” 

Shatzer Matzos produces round “shmura” matzah, which is a handmade version of the Passover staple whose production is supervised beginning at the moment the wheat is harvested.

“To hear that we’re not going to have Shatzer Matzoh this year is just a devastating loss,” Bashevkin said. “In my family, we ate their matzah all year long. My father still has Shatzer Matzoh boxes from last year.” 

In the Facebook group “Great Kosher Restaurants Foodies,” Riki Landa announced that the company is closed this year, adding that the news was “so sad.” 

“I don’t think many will appreciate that for many years, Shatzer was the handmade shmura place,” Rabbi Josh Yuter wrote on Twitter. 

“This was the matzah of our youth,” Bashevkin said. “And we’re still rooting for it to come back.”