CNN's Jake Tapper gave President Zelensky matzah during Passover

"I don't think he's particularly observant, but as long as he's Jewish, when I came for the interview, I gave him a box of matzah. And he was like 'thanks,'" said CNN anchor Jake Tapper.

 CNN anchor Jake Tapper; Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky visits an area damaged by Russian military strikes, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine May 29, 2022. (photo credit: NRKBETA/FLICKR, Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS)
CNN anchor Jake Tapper; Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky visits an area damaged by Russian military strikes, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine May 29, 2022.
(photo credit: NRKBETA/FLICKR, Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS)

Before interviewing Ukrainian President Vloydymyr Zelensky during Passover, CNN anchor Jake Tapper, who is Jewish, gave him a box of matzah.

“It was the first time I had not had a Seder in my entire life,” he said in an interview with Stephen Colbert on CBS’s The Late Show. “I had a one-man Seder. The local Orthodox rabbi – believe it or not, there is a local Orthodox rabbi – gave me a little Seder in a box. So I was able to do that, and I gave some matzah to Zelensky since he is Jewish.

“I don’t think he’s particularly observant, but as long as he’s Jewish, when I came for the interview, I gave him a box of matzah, and he was like, ‘Thanks.’”

Tapper added jokingly about the Chabad rabbi he met in Ukraine: "There's one everywhere. When they land on Mars, there's going to be a Lubavitcher rabbi with a sign that says 'welcome.'"

During the interview, which took place in April, Tapper asked Zelensky about international leaders saying "never again" given the current conflict in his country. The president responded that the world's lack of action against Russia shows there is a lack of conviction behind the saying.

 Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky signs on a national flag as he visits a position of Ukrainian service members, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv region, Ukraine May 29, 2022. (credit: REUTERS) Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky signs on a national flag as he visits a position of Ukrainian service members, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv region, Ukraine May 29, 2022. (credit: REUTERS)

"I don't believe the world, after what we've seen go on in Ukraine," he said in English. "We don't believe the words. After the escalation of Russia, we don't believe our neighbors. We don't believe all of this."

While noting that Zelensky is not an observant Jew, Tapper asked the Ukrainian president if he had a message for Ukrainian Jews and "the message of freedom," in light of the Passover holiday.

"I believe the way we fight for freedom is the most important message," Zelensky responded. "Because you can send a lot of messages with words and they come from different people. But when it comes to action, only a few act on their words, and today I believe Ukrainian people show by their actions that they are fighting and protecting freedom.

"If our people won't be able to protect freedom in their own country, it will be a signal to all other countries that it is allowed to just come and stab, come and shoot, come and take other people's land."

Ukrainian President Vloydymyr Zelensky