(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, 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.
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. JN