Das ungesäuerte Brot des Präsidenten / המצה שהבאתי לנשיא גרמניה הורסט קוהלר כמעט הגיעה לידי האפיפיור

Horst Köhler /  Papst Bendikt XVI /  Mazza aus Israel

דניאל דגן - Beitrag zu 60 Jahre Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Hamburger Abendblatt: die Mazza des Bundespräsidenten

The German President, the Pope and the Mazza

German President Horst Koehler is at the start of his term. One of his first trips will take him to Israel,

giving me the perfect opportunity to swing by and visit the new president at his office. I decide to bring along something unusual – a box of mazza, the unleavened bread that Jews eat for the eight days of Passover.

I visit the president just a day before Passover, the holiday that celebrates the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. I tell President Koehler: Tomorrow evening, the holiday will be kicked off with a feast. Perhaps he and his family will want to mark the occasion with a sampling of mazza? Unfortunately, the president tells me, it won’t work out – he’ll be off at the inauguration of the new Pope in Rome.

My spontaneous response: Cardinal Ratzinger is well-versed in Judaism and even speaks Hebrew. He would surely be thrilled to get a box of mazza from Israel.

Several weeks pass before I see President Koehler again, this time at the opening ceremony for the Academy of the Arts in Berlin’s Pariser Platz. My wife Sabine and I happen upon the presidential couple in the lobby and the conversation immediately turns to the mazza.

„You can’t imagine how thrilled we were with the mazza,“ the president and his wife say. „Our daughter likes it so much that she often eats it instead of having bread.“

And Cardinal Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI? He sadly did not get a bite. In the bustle of his inauguration there was no chance to deliver the box to him. But now, when I occasionally meet the President Koehler and his wife, the mazza always comes up. Next time at the president’s summer party in the Bellevue Castle. I’m looking forward to it!


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