Matzo, a flatbread made simply of flour and water, is a staple and hallmark of Jewish cuisine and culture, especially relating to Passover. “Streit’s: Matzo and the American Dream” spotlights the legendary Streit’s factory in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where Jewish traditions are kept alive and well in the manufacturing of matzo.
A fifth-generation family business, Streit’s was founded in 1916 by Aron Streit, a Jewish immigrant from Austria. The Lower East Side at this time had a large presence of Jewish European immigrants, so businesses like Streit’s flourished. However, as the years have passed and the neighborhoods surrounding Streit’s rapidly gentrified, the factory stands as an emblem to a long-lost age of New York’s history.
In direct contrast to the evolving nature of New York itself, Streit’s still operates much in the same way as it did when it was founded. The flour and water are churned in ovens as old as the factory itself, and only Sabbat-observing Jews are allowed to touch the matzo dough. The story of the Streit family is one of tradition and resilience.