“How do you reinvent matzah after 130 years?” Arye Weigensberg,
assistant brand manager for Manischewitz, asked the crowd before
announcing the winner of the first ever Manischewitz Matzah Sculpture
Competition. The answer: build with it.
James Donovan, a freshman studying studio art at New York University,
won the contest, held on Monday at the Edgar M. Bronfman Center for
Jewish Life at NYU. His winning sculpture recreated the Washington
Square Arch entirely out of matzah.
Shocked at receiving top honors and the $1,000 grand prize, Donovan turned beet red, in contrast with his teal-dyed hair.
“I’m just completely overwhelmed, flabbergasted,” he said. “Home to me
is Washington Square.” His design proposal referred to the arch as a
symbol of a unified home for NYU students, emblematic of New York
itself in his eyes.
Weigensberg and curator Lois Stavsky judged the event. “It was amazing
the diverse response to a simple request,” Weigensberg said.
Other entries in the contest included “Passover and New Orleans: Exodus
and Empathy Revisited” by Erica Dobin, who constructed a series of
sukkot out of matzah, foam board and photographs she took while
attending a New Orleans rebuilding trip with a group of Muslim and
Jewish NYU students during spring break. Daniel Rosenberg, a graduate
student in the NYU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, recreated
souvenir photograph projector keychains with old family photos to show
the idea of “home as an idealized construct.” Chana Langman recreated
the Second Temple in Jerusalem, and Leia Weil and Erica Frankel built a
model of the Western Wall, complete with worshippers.
Any student attending a school served by the Bronfman Center, including
Cooper Union, The Fashion Institute of Technology, The School of Visual
Arts and NYU, was eligible to compete. The sculpture had to incorporate
matzah as an artistic medium and be no more than two feet in height or
Out of 12 entries received, eight were chosen for display at the
Bronfman Center. They are part of the “Home and Away: The Spaces We
Inhabit,” an art exhibit that runs through May 13.