The Israeli astronaut is bringing handmade matzah to the ISS

Eytan Stibbe, the second Israeli austronaut in space, said he is also bringing a wine cup with him, although one drinks through a straw in space.

Eytan Stibbe discusses his upcoming space mission at the  Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: ELAD MALKA)
Eytan Stibbe discusses his upcoming space mission at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: ELAD MALKA)

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

It's all about "the freedom"

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, Chabad.org 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.

Eytan Stibbe at the President’s Residence (credit: MARK NEYMAN / GPO)Eytan Stibbe at the President’s Residence (credit: MARK NEYMAN / GPO)

Grape juice and shmura matzah

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.