How Does the IDF Celebrate Passover?

Every spring, Jewish people around the world celebrate the holiday of Passover, which commemorates the ancient Israelites’ exodus from slavery in Egypt.

IDF Chefs Prepare the Holiday Matzvah

IDF chefs prepare the Passover matzah.

Since the IDF unfortunately cannot go on vacation during Jewish holidays, how do the soldiers of the IDF celebrate this holiday? Soldiers must be even more vigilant during these times. Arab armies and terrorist groups have a history of targeting Israeli citizens during Jewish holidaysattempting to harm them and the state morale.

Some soldiers, if they’re lucky, are allowed to leave their base and return home in order to enjoy a seder (the ritual meal for Passover) with friends and family. Others, however, must remain on base or out in the field during seder time.

 

Every IDF soldier will enjoy the seder experience, even in the field.

But no matter where a soldier is found, he or she can enjoy the seder experience. Soldiers who must stay on base are invited to the main dining hall. Each base has its own army chaplain to conduct the seder. For some IDF soldiers, the seder on base will be their first-ever Passover experience.

IDF soldiers celebrate the Passover seder.

 

Soldiers who are on guard against the many threats Israel faces for the night will receive an army-approved kosher-for-Passover “seder-in-a-box” that contains the six required symbolic Passover items: grape juice, maror (bitter herbs), charoset (apple and date honey mix), hard-boiled egg, lamb bone, karpas (parsley) and chazeret (lettuce).

 

Getting Ready

Preparing the entire IDF for the Passover holiday is a daunting task. Rabbi Zev Roness,  a captain in the Armored Training School in southern Israel:

“It’s a whole operation… The army prepares more than a month before Passover to ensure that all of the army kitchens meet the highest kosher-for-Passover standards.”

 

“In accordance with army law, soldiers must not bring any ‘chametz’ [bread and other leavened products] onto the base for the duration of the eight day holiday,” Rabbi Roness explained. “Additionally, the soldiers must clean out their bunks and bags from any remaining bread crumbs, which is followed by an inspection by the brigade commander.”

 

“It’s a whole operation,” said Rabbi Zev Roness.

Rabbi Roness extended a warm blessing to all of the soldiers of the IDF, wishing “everyone a healthy and peaceful Passover.”

Any soldiers with questions regarding how to prepare their homes for Passover can contact the IDF hotline 24 hours a day at 057-817-5767.


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