Jake Tapper gave Zelensky matzah during Passover


(JTA) — Jake Tapper thinks this year might have been the first time he celebrated Passover without friends and family.

The Jewish CNN anchor had his reasons: he was reporting on the ground in war-torn Ukraine.

Tapper opened up about the experience on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on Tuesday night.

During his two-week trip this April, Tapper said he was forced to celebrate the holiday alone, but a local Orthodox rabbi gave him matzah and other seder supplies.


“Believe it or not, there is a local Orthodox rabbi,” he told Colbert. “There is one everywhere. When they land on Mars, there’s going to be a [Chabad] Lubavitcher rabbi.”

Tapper was joking about the Hasidic Chabad-Lubavitch movement, which places emissaries in far-flung countries around the world.

Tapper then described offering President Volodymyr Zelensky — whom Tapper interviewed, and who is Jewish — a box of matzah. The unleavened bread was apparently met with a lukewarm reception by the Ukrainian leader, who likely had other concerns on his mind.

In addition to his lighthearted jokes, Tapper commented more seriously on the upcoming Jan. 6 insurrection hearings that will begin Thursday. 

“This was not just a group of people who got a bit rowdy did some stupid things,” he said. “This is about a strategy and a conspiracy.” 

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