In the 3,000 years since the Jews fled Egypt
with their unleavened dough, no one has come up with anything better to
do with it than eat it. And even that's not such a good idea.
That is why it was such a joy to attend the world's first Matzo Sculpture Competition on Monday night at New York University's Bronfman Center. The sponsor — big surprise — was Manischewitz,
the country's foremost matzo maker (which, by the way, is now owned by
the same holding company that also owns Horowitz Margareten and
Goodman's matzo. So much for competition in the kosher aisle).
Matzo, fyi, is the flat, hard "bread of affliction" Jews are
commanded to eat on Passover to remind them of the Exodus, when there
wasn't time to let the dough rise (or, apparently, acquire any taste).
What can one fashion out of oversize crackers? The finalists in Monday's contest came forth with matzo candlesticks, a matzo Wailing Wall,
even a matzo video game, complete with mini matzo Mario. "Super Mario
Brothers is a game of conquest but more notably of oppression," the
artist's statement read. "You thought it was a game about pizza-eating
plumbers? How could you be so naïve?"
Uh, easy. Anyway, as a large crowd milled around, examining the
sculptures (and, truth be told, also a far more normal art opening
going on at the same time), the artists were only too happy to discuss
The official theme was "Home," contestant Eric Goldberg
said, and his three little matzo dioramas were meant to represent his
parents' home, his grandparents' home, and now (the one with the matzo
futon), his own home, as an NYU student.
"They gave me a foundation," he said of his family, and you just
know that somewhere out there, there are two generations of Goldbergs
very proud that their boy is spending his $39,000 education gluing
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