Introduction: Matzah Portraits

About: I experience life through my finger tips and taste buds. Can't stop making new things. In my day job I manage a student workshop, and in my free time I volunteer as an EMT and for a local food rescue organizat…

Shalom! It's Passover season again, and that means MATZAH.

Matzah is a dry cracker traditionally consumed by jews during Passover in lieu of real bread. In the Jewish faith matzah represents a time when Jews were in a hurry to get out of town to escape an Egyptian pharaoh and didn't have time to bake real bread. I'm only Jew-ish so to me it represents a food that must be smothered with apple sauce in order to be edible. It is not gluten free, or vegan, but that is not the only reason you haven't seen it at your local coffee shop or bakery.

For passover this year I decided to laser cut portraits of some famous Jews into Matzah. Think Grilled Cheesus but way more Jewish.


As a reminder to not "Passover Bernie Sanders in the upcoming primaries" my friend Trevor cut the above portrait.

Step 1: Collect Images

I generated a list of famous Jews with a few friends and headed to google collect images for the project.

The best photos for laser engraving are high contrast with white backgrounds. In the case of portraits it is good if the images have white backgrounds.

Here is the final list:

Adam Sandler, Alan Greenspan, Albert Einstein, Anne Frank, Annie Leibovitz, Barbra Streisand, Golda Meir, Jon Stewart, Leonard Nimoy, Sarah Silverman, Natalie Portman, Woody Allen

*This list does not necessarily reflect the importance of these people in relation to each other or any other Jewish figures but rather is a representation of my knowledge of history and pop culture.

** Someone please make a matzah portrait Jerry Seinfeld. I can't believe I forgot about him.

Step 2: Edit

In order for the images to show up well on the Matzah I first converted the photos to black and white and increased the contrast by about 50%. I have attached the file I used for laser cutting, but feel free to use any images you'd like.


Step 3: Test

I recommend doing some test cuts before marching through the desert of laser cutting for what might seem like forty years. I did about one box worth of tests before I was satisfied with the results. In the end increased contrast was important as well as taking the laser out of focus by about half an inch. With the laser out of focus it's power gets dispersed over a slightly larger area and as a result it darkens the Matzah more without cutting through it.

Step 4: Engrave

The actual laser engraving takes a pretty long time so it might be a good idea to bring along some Torah portions to read. I set up a few rows of Matzah so that I wouldn't need to spend so much time in setup for each piece.

Step 5: Enjoy

Mazel tov! Break out the gefilte fish and the horseradish, it's time to eat. Actually, I don't recommend eating food that has been in the laser cutter. It doesn't smell good and I can't imagine it is healthy.

Ba-ruch a-tah A-do-nai, E-lo-hey-nu Me-lech ha-o-lam, Ha-motzi le-chem min ha-a-retz.

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