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Foodstuffs: Matzah In Short Supply Passover Week

Avital Pinnick
Flicker CC

During Passover, it's best to stock up on matzah early, especially in a state like New Hampshire.

"Jews don't move to New Hampshire for the Jewish community, we move here for other reasons," says rabbi Robin Nafshi of the Temple Beth Jacob in Concord, "the Jewish population of New Hampshire is fairly small."

There was a Stop and Shop in Bedford that used to accommodate kosher shoppers, "It was unbelievable, there was almost two aisles of food for passover," says Katy Gibny from Goffstown. But that store has closed, which has turned Gibni's family to "hunter gatherers."

"We have to go from place to place, and if you run out, like my family just ran out of matzah -- we still have a couple of days left. I'm lucky if I can go to a store and find a couple of extra boxes," she says.

Indeed, even some local grocery stores have run out of the traditional unleavened bread. Nafshi says a few members of her congregation couldn't find any in Concord (though it turns out one store had simply moved its stash of matzah), and so she put out a call on social media looking for extra to share with the family.

And Gibni says she is often met with blank stares from store clerks when she asks for the passover aisle. 

"You have to say, 'Matzah?' and they'll say, 'oh  yeah, that's at the end of aisle 14' and maybe it is and maybe it isn't," Gibny says. 

Nafshi calls the matzah situation during passover week "symbolic" of being Jewish in the Granite State. While Gibny says staying kosher during passover is easy enough, she has pretty much written off eating out. 

"But wouldn't it be kind of neat if you could do the drive-up to the Dunkin Donuts and you could get a wheat-free or pasach donut?" she asks, laughing, "Why not just a pasach cruller?"

Sam Evans-Brown has been working for New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010, when he began as a freelancer. He shifted gears in 2016 and began producing Outside/In, a podcast and radio show about “the natural world and how we use it.” His work has won him several awards, including two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, one national Murrow, and the Overseas Press Club of America's award for best environmental reporting in any medium. He studied Politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.

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