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Should we stay or should we go?

Such is the central dilemma of “Streit’s: Matzo and the American Dream,” the new documentary about the Streit’s matzo factory playing this weekend in three South Florida theaters.

Streit’s has been in its current location on the corner of Rivington and Suffolk streets on the Lower East Side of Manhattan since 1925, when that neighborhood was teeming with Jews and the equipment Streit’s founder Aron Streit used was new and economical.

As the neighborhood and matzah-making industry have changed drastically over the years, Streit’s should have long ago moved its production plant somewhere in the suburbs of New York City.

However, the 11 co-owners of the family-run business, especially the three cousins who run the company’s day-to-day operations (Alan Adler and Aron Yagoda, great-grandsons of Aron Streit; and great-great-grandson Aaron Gross) take extreme pride in the company’s roots on the Lower East Side.

They also wonder if they will be able to replicate the famous New York City water, and any machinery built into the structure of their facility which won’t be able to be moved.

Finally, they also are extremely loyal to the company’s 60 workers, many of whom have worked there a long time and are considered to be part of the family.

In the movie, Adler describes a scene years back when he had a $1 million deposit check on his desk and he told the potential buyer to take the check back because the family had decided not to sell.

The idea for the film dates back to 2009, when Michael Levine — the film’s director, cinematographer and editor — was given a fresh piece of a matzah by one of the factory’s workers as he peered into the facility trying to figure out what was going on right there in his neighborhood.

Levine’s instincts told him there was a story to be told at Streit’s, and soon after he convinced the Streit family to give him the rights to make a film.

Lacking an investor, Levine moved on to other projects, but while working on a video for wine and spirits expert Michael Green in 2012, he inspired Green to produce the film and allow him to start filming.

Levine said: “We’ve already been approached about using the film as a case study in business ethics. It really speaks to tough decisions family-run businesses have to make today and whether the consumer is willing to pay extra to help these businesses support their workers.”

While the film is primarily about the Streit family’s business decision about what to do with the factory, it also highlights some of the factory’s long-time workers (some of whom are second- and third-generation workers themselves).

One particularly compelling character is Anthony Zapata, who has worked at Streit’s for 33 years. In the film, Zapata discusses in animated detail how he originally got hired; how he loves his job; how the neighborhood has changed; and his fears if the factory is forced to close.

Levine said: “Two seconds after I met Anthony, I knew he would have a big part in the film.”

The film came to South Florida last weekend at the Movies of Delray and Movies of Lake Worth and will continue at those theaters this week as well as beginning at the Last Picture Show in Tamarac on Friday, March 27.

Levine and Green were present for post-screening Q&A’s at Movies of Delray and Movies of Lake Worth for select shows on March 20-22, and Levine will do that as well from March 27-29 at all three theaters.

Green said: “We think there is a large audience here for this film of people who have ties to Streit’s and/or the Lower East Side. So far, we’ve had many strong reactions to the film and we hope people will continue to come out to see it.”

Renee Kaplan, a granddaughter of Aron Streit who now lives in Boynton Beach, saw the film in Delray Beach last weekend with her granddaughter, Jaclyn Blumenfeld, a law student at the University of Miami. Members of the Streit family are expected again this upcoming weekend.

Kaplan said: “Watching this film brought mixed emotions. Seeing old pictures of my father made me tear up, but I thought it was great that the movie takes the viewer to places in the factory that a visitor normally can’t see.”

Added Blumenfeld: “The film brought back good memories for me of stocking the shelves in the retail store and selling to customers when I was a kid.”

And this upcoming week, just like last week, the theaters showing the movie will treat movie-goers to a free box of Streit’s matzah (while supplies last).

For more information about the film, including continued fundraising, visit the film’s website at

For directions, showtimes and ticket prices for Movies of Delray and Movies of Lake Worth, visit; for The Last Picture Show, call 954-726-3500 or visit

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