Hungarians import from Israel to try to avoid matzah crunch

"We ordered seven tons of matzot, which is enough not only for the local Orthodox Jews," said Hermann Fixler, the head of Hungary's Orthodox community, but it is also enough to donate some of the matzah "as a charity to neighboring Ukrainian Jews."

The Orthodox community also will send kosher products, like sugar, salt, oil and margarine, to the mainly Hungarian-speaking Jewish community that lives just across the border in Ukraine.

The local factory in Budapest, which had been responsible for the matzah supply here for decades, closed down two years ago after its owners decided it was no longer financially viable.

"It is sad that our local matzah production has been stopped," Fixler said.

What's sad for some is a business opportunity for others.

Private dealers and distributors have begun to import matzah from neighboring Slovakia. Matzah is cheaper to produce in Slovakia, in part because labor is cheaper there, said Zoltan Kondorosi, manager of a local Hungarian company that imports the product from Slovakia.

Kondorosi's grandfather received a Righteous Gentile designation from Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.

"Due mainly to our family tradition, I want matzah to get once again to all Hungarian shops, as part of Jewish culture and tradition," Kondorosi said.