The Hebron Matza Cover Initiative

This year, Project Hayei Sarah is using the holiday of Passover as an opportunity to support Palestinian friends in Hebron whose ability to take care of their families is severely harmed by the occupation. Project Chayei Sarah is a group of rabbinical students, rabbis, Jewish educators and lay-leaders who have spent time in Hebron and are grappling with the difficult realities we encountered there. Those, like myself, who have been to Hebron use the annual reading of Parshat Hayei Sarah, the Torah reading in which Abraham buys part of what is considered to be modern-day Hebron, as an opportunity educate our communities about the situation there.
In the H2 section of Hebron, the economy of the Palestinian community has been nearly destroyed due to the presence of Jewish settlers. At seder tables all over Jerusalem, friends of Project Hayei Sarah used matzah covers hand made especially for them by Women in Hebron. Purchased as an act of solidarity and of hidur mitzvah — beautification/elevation of a commandment — the matzah covers remind us of the liberation we need to continue working towards in Hebron.
“While everyone is busy debating about to boycott or not to boycott, we wanted to raise a new question: how might we, as Jews, support Palestinian economies?” relayed project coordinator Alana Alpert.
Fellow activist Moriel Rothman added, “On passover, we recall that we were once slaves in the Land of Egypt. It does not befit a community of ex-slaves to oppress others as Israel is doing in the city of Hebron. Selling the Matzah Covers on Ben Yehuda was an attempt both to support the Women of Hebron, and to encourage Israelis and visitors to Israel to learn about the situation in Hebron, as we reflect collectively on the meaning of freedom.”
To learn more about the situation in Hebron, visit the experts:, and

12 thoughts on “The Hebron Matza Cover Initiative

  1. “In the H2 section of Hebron, the economy of the Palestinian community has been nearly destroyed due to the presence of Jewish settlers.”
    Really? The mere presence of the Jewish settlers destroyed the economy? What year did the Jewish settlers move in, and in what year was the economy destroyed? What was the causal connection exactly?

  2. Mas,
    before there were Jewish settlers in H2 there was an open air bizarre that Avraham could have seen. Now it is gone, blocked off by massive concrete blocks placed there by the IDF… You need to differentiate between Kiryat Arba and the settlement in the old city of Hebron.

  3. Yes, I’d like to know how to get a matzah cover also, as a way to support you all.
    This year, I was reading about the halachic requirement of eating a ‘kezayit’ (like an olive in size) of matzah. At first, this was only out of curiosity. I found R. Nathan Slifkin’s piece on the history of the expanding olive. Gradually I remembered the connection of olives and olive trees in Palestine. Maybe eating matzah kezayit means eating with the consciousness that some Jews are ripping out the olive trees of others. So I find initiatives like Peace Oil and now the Hebron Matzah Cover to be really compelling!

  4. Justin-
    You didn’t answer my question. What year did the bazaar close and the concrete blocks go up relative to the year that the settlers moved in? Was it the next day? Or years later? And why did the IDF put them up? Just because Jews moved in?
    I can and do distinguish between Kiryat Arba and the settlement in the old city, but I don’t see why that distinction makes a difference here.

  5. it’s less about the year the settlers moved in and more about the year that movement began to be severely restricted. the bazaar was closed to “protect” the few hundred Jewish residents who had been regularly harassing Palestinian residents forcing them to literally live behind cages. the distinction between kiryat arba and the settlement in H2 is significant because the prior is not what restricted the movement of Palestinians in the city. Again, it’s not about the year, it’s about the progress in behavior and making life unlivable for arab residents

  6. Justin-
    Its about both dates. The post claims that the settler “presence” alone is responsible for the problems. To see if that is true, it would surely be instructive to know when the settlers moved in relative to the consequences described. If the consequences are much later than the settler presence, it would seem that other factors must be involved.
    Even from your own (vague) comments, it seems that the real story is more complicated than the claim made in the post- in your description, it wasn’t the “presence,” but alleged settler harassment and IDF security measures that life to become “unlivable” for Arab residents.
    I think my question is relatively straightforward, and it is weird that you won’t answer it (assuming that you agree with the original post). Simply- when you claim that the presence of settlers destroyed Palestinian life in Hebron, what do you mean? When and how did the settler presence do this? I don’t think that is so much to ask.
    (Also, you put the word “protect” in scare quotes. Am I to understand that in your view, there was no need for the IDF to protect the settlers in Hebron? Haven’t there been dozens of settlers murdered there?)

  7. I didn’t answer the question because I don’t know the dates. What I know is that when I went to Hevron in 1998 there was a bustling open air market. When I went in 2006 there was not. When I went in 1998 I saw Palestinians running their businesses and living in homes. When I went in 2006 I saw those businesses literally welded shut and those homes burned out and vacated.
    I put “protect” in quotes because the intention of closing the bazaar was not to protect the settlers, it was to close the bazaar.
    I don’t have any answers. The presence of settlers in H2 has destroyed the economy there. That is a historic and economic fact. the IDF and Border Police have completely shut down that part of the city in the name of protecting 500 Jews at the expense of 30k Arabs.
    I think it’s more than the presence of Jews in Hevron. It’s what they do there.
    My personal opinion, Jews should live anywhere they want in the land of our ancestors (or anywhere else for that matter). It makes more sense to me to have Jews in Hevron than in Eilat or Golan. But what does not make sense to me is what the settlers in Hevron have done in the name of Judaism.

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