WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - That wacky rabbi is at it again.
Shmuel Herzfeld, otherwise known as "Matzoh Man," has built quite the reputation in the Jewish community for his unique approach at creating enthusiasm. He'll be the first to admit, he's a bit unorthodox.
"I take that as a compliment," he laughed.
The "Matzoh Man" nickname makes a lot of sense. After all, during passover, he dresses in a matzoh suit, and all year round, you can find him in the "matzoh mobile," a car covered in a matzoh design. Now, with the Jewish high holy day, Yom Kippur, just days a way, Herzfeld is back with another unique idea.
"One, two, three," he counted before slamming down a card on the table. "You see - I won."
We're joining Herzfeld at Ohev Shalom, the temple he leads in the Shepherd Park area of NW Washington. He's showing off his brand new Jewish trading cards, which he's calling the Alef Blessed Trading Cards. Each card has a word on it from the High Priest Blessing, a prayer recited every Yom Kippur.
"This is Oneg," he said, pointing at one of the cards. "This is 'a year of delight.'"
He then continued shuffling through the cards, showing us a wide range from "Chayim Tovim" - The Good Life - to "Mamtiku Megadim" - Sweet Fruits. Herzfeld said it's all about bringing the prayer alive for young people.
"If you just stick a text," he said. "An ancient text, in front of children, you can see their eyes just glaze over. But now you stick these cards in front of them, and they know all the words of this prayer. And they're running around, playing the game. And I view that as they're running around blessing each other."
All in all, 50,000 cards were printed, and the demand has been high from across the globe. They're being sold for $5 per pack, although the temple has also been quick to give them out for free to kids who want them.
"We're not trying to make a profit off these," he laughed. "If we were selling these to eat, we'd be in trouble."
With Yom Kippur just days away, Herzfeld is calling the project a success, and hopes they can make the world just a little bit brighter.
"My dream is they're inspired," he said. "To want to bring blessings to the world. That's our best hope that the next generation wants to do good, and bring blessings to the world."
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