Chabad of Baton Rouge plans to give out 400 boxes of handmade shmurah matzah to help Jewish families in the Capitol area observe Passover.

Chabad of Baton Rouge has launched The Matzah Project, with this year’s objective to distribute 400 gift boxes of handmade shmurah matzah to help Jewish families in the Capitol area in their Passover observances.

Passover, celebrated this year from the night of March 27 until after nightfall on April 4, commemorates the exodus of the Jews from Egypt in 1313 B.C. The people of Israel left so quickly they could not wait for their dough to rise, and thus ate unleavened crackers called matzah.

Round, kneaded and shaped by hand, present-day shmurah matzahs are similar to those eaten by the Jews when leaving Egypt over 3,000 years ago. From the moment the wheat is harvested, the ingredients are carefully watched to ensure that they do not become leavened, which would be prohibited on Passover.

The local effort is part of a global Passover campaign that began in 1954, when the Rebbe, the late Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, launched the shmurah matzah initiative as part of an effort to create awareness and promote observance of the holiday. The Chabad movement this year will distribute an estimated 4 million hand-baked shmurah matzahs internationally.

“Over the past years, I’ve seen the impact of reaching out has had on individuals who needed a morale boost before the holiday. When someone receives a gift package, they will know there are others in the community who cared enough to enhance their holiday experience,” said Rabbi Peretz Kazen, director at Chabad of Baton Rouge.

To request a Matzah gift package or for other holiday-related questions, email