Baking Oat Matzos Already!



It's that time of year – between Sukkot and Chanuka – oat matzo baking!

Some 30 years ago, Rav Ephraim Kestenbaum's daughter Lisa was diagnosed with coeliac's disease – an allergy to gluten. Nevertheless, their local orthodox rabbi told Rabbi Kestenbaum that Lisa should eat a small quantity of matzo on Passover. Rabbi Kestenbaum was deeply troubled by this – how could he make his daughter eat something which was harmful for her?

Rav Kestenbaum is both a talmid chacham (learned in Jewish sources) and a chemical engineer.

He therefore decided to find a work-around. A way for his daughter to fulfill the incredibly important commandment of eating matzo on Passover, while not causing Lisa to become ill....

After several years of investigation and experimentation, Rabbi Kestenbaum invented the oat matzo – which are mehadrin kosher matzos for Passover, and which are not harmful for ceoliacs to eat.

The first gluten free oat matzos were produced in the Kestenbaum family kitchen in Golders Green, London, and were for Lisa. They over-produced, and made more than Lisa needed, and asked around if anyone else was interested to have them too.

Over the years, the kitchen experiment grew into a cottage industry. Today, tens of thousands of boxes of Rabbi Kestenbaum's Gluten Free Oat Matzos are sold each year to Jews throughout the world.

And my connection?

Rav Kestenbaum, now aged a remarkable sprightly 84, is my father-in-law, and I have had a small hand in helping him with the oat matzo baking ever since I married Julie – 22 years ago. Indeed I helped Rav Kestenbaum ramp up the process from hand baking, to making the first machine oat matzos. I am one of numerous family members who drop everything, and come to join zeide for the annual matzo baking.
         My son, Ariel, 11, helping out on the matzo production line

Thanks to Rabbi Kestenbaum's creative genius, his initiative and persistence, tens of thousands of Jews around the world, who have various intolerances to wheat and gluten, are now able to fulfill the biblical commandment of eating matzo on Passover, while remaining in robust good health!

More details about Rabbi Kestenbaum's Oat Matzos: http://www.glutenfreeoatmatzos.com/
If anyone out there could be interested in buying Rabbi Kestenbaum's oat matzo enterprise/business, please let me know, david at scitronix.co.il 

Comments

  1. I want to share the fun and the mitzva! Need more hands-on help?

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  2. Hi Yocheved - thanks for the kind offer. Actually, all the matzos are now baked, boxed, ready to send out!

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  3. Are the matzot pure oats or they mix it with wheat/spelt flour? Do they make a bracha of al achilas matza on just oats?

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  4. Hi Jenny - the matzos are solely composed of gluten-free shmurah oat flour and water. No additives, no other flour. Yes - the bracha is "al achilas matzo" as oats is one of the five grains which can be used for matzos(you can obtain clarification from your LOR)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks David - that's why I'm asking. My LOR (apparently in accordance with RSYE's psak) thinks that oats are in fact not one of the 5 grains. He prefers coeliacs have a k'zayit of spelt, and that if they're going to go with oats, they should not make a bracha of "al achilas matza".

    I don't know if this applies to not making mezonos/al hamichya on oat products during the year.

    Who is the rabbi in charge of the enterprise? Has he written anything official confirming the appropriateness of oat matzah? I'd love to show my rabbi.

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  6. What a wonderful merit you all have! And thank you for this service to Am Yisrael. Even here in far-off Santa Fe, we have a family who anxiously looks forward to these matzot each year. They keep some in the beit midrash to make a motzi when we have community meals, as well.

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  7. The Rav who is the long-standing mashgiach for Rav Kestenbaum's oat matzos is Dayan Westheim from Manchester.

    I am aware that Prof Felix raised the possibility that today's oats are not Shibolet Sho'al of the Torah.

    To the best of my knowledge, it is a dat yachid - others such as the Mishna Brurah (referring to oats in Poland) hold that oats are indeed shibolet sho'al.

    Anyway, your LOR is very welcome to call Dayan Westheim!

    ReplyDelete

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