Salami Seder

April 9, 2012 - 7:30 PM by

IDF soldiers enjoy their Seder. (

While most of my family spent Seder night around an overloaded table of food, groaning with the weight of delicacies lamb, fish, meat, chicken delicacies as well as all the traditional Passover foods (love that eggs in salt water), my daughter was having a Seder with her soldiers along the border with Egypt.

She had just finished 12 hours of patrols and assignments, and was able to relax and enjoy herself, with a spread, although not quite as sumptuous as ours, still featured a respectable chicken soup and matza balls and roast beef.

She was much luckier though, than soldiers in the Kfir Brigade, who according to reports on Israel Radio and Channel 2, had to make do with salami and matzah for their Seder meal.

Evidently, a chef on their base heated up the planned Seder food after the holiday began, rendering it unkosher according to strict Jewish law, and thus army rules, which follow the laws of kashrut. The kashrut supervisor on the base didn’t hesitate to throw away the entire batch of food, leaving the hungry soldiers, who had also just returned from a mission, only the salami and matza to eat.

Now, I’m one of the first ones to love the fact that when you’re in the army, or you go to a government office, or a sanctioned hotel, you can be assured that the food is going to be kosher – it’s one of the great aspects about Israel.

But, perhaps there are instances when a little common sense is required? I’m not sure what percentage of those Kfir soldiers keep kosher, but couldn’t they have been given the option – after an explanation of what happened – to decide for themselves whether they wanted to eat the heated food or not? After all, it’s not like the food isn’t really kosher – it was just heated up (by somebody else).

My wife says that this would have made the religiously observant soldiers feel especially bad, seeing their fellow soldiers feasting on Seder food while they were stuck with salami. What do you think?

I just know that if it was my daughter who had been served salami on Seder night because of an oversight by an army cook, I would have thought that we’ve lost track of what’s really important in our society.


4 Comments on Salami Seder

  1. marla on Mon, Apr 9th 2012 9:35 PM
  2. Last year Shani spent the seder serving a festive meal to Beduins and non observant Russian soldiers. She was upset that the Rabbi who lead the seder ignored her since she is just a woman and she was not allowed to participate. I was confused that a Jewish woman in the Israeli army had to serve non Jewish soldiers food on pessach. These same beduin soldiers all have a week off when it is their holiday

  3. shlomo on Mon, Apr 9th 2012 10:01 PM
  4. This indeed,did happen to me, a religiously observant soldier on a Shabbat and yes, we all got penalized,but sorry,if the chef has NO consideration for the religious soldiers who also have the “12 hour ” shifts,the fault is his and all have to pay the consequences.Kinda like if 1 soldier screws up and all have to run 5kilometers,or all have to stay for Shabbat.Please do NOT minimilize the halachot.In your home do what you want,but Tzahal strives to be for all.

  5. Yoni on Tue, Apr 10th 2012 8:33 AM
  6. Ummm ….who exactly lost track??

  7. israelunlocked on Tue, Apr 10th 2012 11:07 PM
  8. Wow, that must have been so frustrating for the soldiers! Still, I can’t agree that bending the rules in this situation would have been beneficial for morale: I’d imagine that a soldier who is risking his/her life would prefer to do so on behalf of an institution that is firm in its principles because it considers them to be worth maintaining – and worth fighting for. In fact, I think it shows that Israel has not lost track of what’s important.
    Also, while the sensitivity your wife suggests would be laudable, I don’t believe religious people would want others to go without comfort just because they can’t experience it themselves; they’re used to such situations.

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