A British kosher-food manufacturer devoted its entire factory this week to produce a million matzahs for Ukraine’s Jewish community and refugees in time for Passover following a request from the Orthodox Union, reported Jewish News.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has resulted in extreme shortages of matzah for Passover for both Jews in the country and those who have fled, the OU told the news outlet. To help with the issue, the OU contacted KLBD—the kashrut division of the London Beit Din—and asked if the Leeds-based company Rakusen’s would be able to produce extra kosher-for-Passover matzah.
Roughly 70,000 boxes were ordered, which comes out to nearly 1 million matzahs; the packages will be sent to Hungary and then transferred to Ukraine. All the costs for the extra flour that Rakusen’s had to buy, plus packaging for the boxes and hiring of extra staff, was covered by the OU and Va’ad Hakashrut, according to Jewish News.
“Rakusen’s finished their main matzah run two weeks ago, but given the huge suffering in Ukraine, we knew we had to help out to ensure Jewish refugees and those still in Ukraine have matzah for Pesach,” said KLBD’s Rabbi Moshe Royde.
“Despite the huge time pressure, we have managed to achieve a very high standard of kosher-for-Passover production. We were able to recruit enough mashgichim [kosher supervisors] to help us oversee the baking,” he explained. “We have also been able to label each box manually so it’s clear the matzah is for Jewish refugees.”
Simon Taylor, the OU’s national director for community projects and partnerships, said “Rakusen’s stepped up to the challenge and couldn’t have been more helpful; they closed down their factory in order to make this happen. Otherwise, I simply don’t know if we would have been able to do this time.”