No shmurah matzah for the Zuck!
No shmurah matzah for the Zuck!

Chabad rabbi fails in mission to deliver shmurah matzah to Mark Zuckerberg

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Every spring, Chabad rabbis around the world attempt to deliver shmurah matzah to as many Jews as possible in anticipation of Passover, which begins this year on Friday evening. They deliver it either through the mail or by hand.

Rabbi Laivy Mochkin
Rabbi Laivy Mochkin

But on Monday, local Chabad Rabbi Laivy Mochkin found himself under watchful eyes while attempting to drop off some shmurah matzah at the home of a certain social media titan.

After making about 40 successful deliveries to Jewish households in Palo Alto, Mochkin realized he was on the same block as Mark Zuckerberg’s estate (one of many).

The rabbi was with a teenager who often helps him with mitzvah and community service efforts. Relating the tale to J., Mochkin said he asked his companion whether it “would be cool” to drop off matzah to the billionaire Facebook founder.

“He was very excited to pass by” the house, Mochkin said.

Shmurah matzah, which is produced under careful supervision and is often handmade and round (as opposed to the perfectly rectangular machine-made kind), is encouraged for use at the seder by Orthodox Jews.

In recent years Zuckerberg, who once called himself an atheist but has embraced his Jewish identity of late and has donated to Jewish causes, had received matzah deliveries from the Palo Alto Chabad, Mochkin said.

“Sometimes through the mail. I believe a few times [a Chabad emissary] went by his house and gave it to someone, I don’t know if it was him,” he said.

As he pulled up near Zuckerberg’s property he saw a car parked out front with a security guard sitting inside.

“As we started to pull up, another car came zooming up from the opposite direction and went past us,” he said. “I noticed the guy in the first car was videoing me.”

The man in the second car took a picture of Mochkin’s license plate as he was driving away.

“They were already on my tail,” he said. “At that point I decided I would maybe let somebody else take this on.”

The visit was not made in vain; it prompted a brush with social media fame for the rabbi, who joined Palo Alto Chabad in October.

Mochkin fired off a tweet recounting what he had learned from the experience:

“You can’t just walk up to Zuckerberg’s door and give him Shmurah Matzah,” he wrote. “I know that now.”

The tweet struck a chord, particularly in light of recent reports that Meta, the parent company of Facebook, had spent a hefty $27 million in 2021 on security for Zuckerberg and his family.

The tweet surprised Mochkin with 560 likes and counting, and dozens of retweets (the rabbi joined Twitter weeks ago, and had just 96 followers).

It also prompted some memorable quips: “Should have tried the metaverse, Rabbi,” one person responded.

Reflecting on the experience, Mochkin said the fact that Zuckerberg was, well, Zuckerberg was not a major factor when considering whether to attempt the matzah delivery.

“Even when we see a Jew on the street, we say ‘would you like some matzah?’” he said.

“We all know he’s Jewish. You know, he’s famous,” he added. “We try to give matzah to as many Jewish people as possible.”

The rabbi concluded the interview by asking this reporter whether he had any shmurah matzah for Passover, and if not, to which address it should be sent.

Gabe Stutman
Gabe Stutman

Gabe Stutman is the news editor of J. Follow him on Twitter @jnewsgabe.