Streit’s factory and its matzo, symbols of both New York and Jewish America since 1925, are preparing to relocate from Manhattan’s Rivington Street to a more efficient, spacious and technologically advanced factory in the tri-state area. Streit’s name-brand reigns as the only family-owned Kosher manufacturer in the U.S. today, and inside holds the rich history of an American dream.

Matzo, the unleavened bread that Jewish people eat for Passover, is the Kosher staple of Streit’s Factory.
The matzo dough, tough like Play-Doh, is rolled, perforated and flattened on conveyor belts. Here, a worker empties a cupful of salt onto the conveyer belt.
Rabbi Mayer Kirshner leads a team of rabbis at Streit’s who make sure the matzo is kosher. Burnt or misshapen matzo is thrown into a big bin and later sold as animal feed.
Streit’s offers nine non-Passover varieties, such as “lightly salted,” and five Passover: whole wheat, spelt, organic, regular and egg. Although each room is filled with baked sheets of matzo inching along on conveyer belts, 76-year-old machines and a lack of storage space cannot keep up with consumer demand.
Tony Zapata, 53, has been a valued member of the Streit’s team for 33 years. Like several other Streit’s workers, Zapata might have to find work elsewhere because of the relocation and long commute.
Each room of the factory holds several machines, each with a different role — mixing, flattening, salting and baking the dough. Although they used to run 24 hours a day, now they can only handle 12 hours a day, six days a week.
A simple combination of flour and water requires a lot of attention: here, two workers receive the baked matzo from a conveyor belt, break apart the sheets and transfer it to the hanging wire racks, headed to production upstairs.
“Streit’s: Matzo and the American Dream” tells the story of the factory’s family tradition, dedicated workers, and its landmark location on the Lower East Side.

Streit’s shop, out front in the corner tenement, boasts more than matzo: shelves are stacked with candy, soup, cake mix, condiments, noodles and even fresh-baked macaroons.
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