An Israeli astronaut is bringing matzah to the International Space Station


(JTA) — An Israeli astronaut is making a decidedly low-tech delivery to the International Space Station: handmade matzah.

Eytan Stibbe, 64, is one of three astronauts paying for the privilege of launching into space on Friday, in an initiative of Axiom Space, a private company based in Houston.

Chabad of the Space and Treasure Coasts in Florida delivered Stibbe a Passover food package, noting that he will be on the space station when Passover starts on the evening of April 15, reported.

Stibbe explained the significance of the holiday in a Zoom press conference earlier this week.

“The seder, Passover, is all about freedom which is a value we celebrate annually and remind ourselves about the importance of freedom,” he said.

Stibbe said he is bringing a wine cup with him, although one drinks through a straw in space. To that end, Rabbi Zvi Konikov, the Chabad rabbi who delivered the package to Stibbe, includes a number of grape juice boxes.

The package also contains shmura matzah, the variety that is hand-baked and preferred by many Orthodox Jews.

Stibbe, 64, is the second-ever Israeli astronaut to go into space, following in the steps of Ilan Ramon, who like Stibbe was a former Israeli pilot. Ramon died aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003.

After serving as a combat pilot for the Israel Defense Forces, Stibbe has been involved in investing in Africa as the founding director of the Vital Capital Fund.

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