Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Culture

Ben Shapiro called Bernie Sanders a ham sandwich — what kind of sandwich would he be?

Meticulously kosher but entirely out of step with Jewish tradition, the Shapiro sandwich is a hot mess

It’s a day ending in y, so, naturally, Ben Shapiro has been getting ratio’d on Twitter again.

Irked by Jewish Sen. Bernie Sanders’ invitation to Rep. Rashida Tlaib to host a Nakba Day event in the Senate, the Daily Wire founder tweeted that Sanders is “approximately as Jewish as a ham sandwich topped with shrimp on lard bread.”

(Really, Ben? No room for a slice of Swiss cheese on this hate sandwich?)

Jewish gatekeeping aside, Shapiro’s tweet led me to consider the following question: If Sen. Sanders has an analogous sandwich, then it stands to reason that Shapiro would have one too. But what would it be? I talked with a few colleagues and we came up with The Shapiro, a sandwich that would accurately represent the Orthodox Jewish takesman and provocateur.

The Jewish people supposedly invented the sandwich — salute to Hillel — but if “love thy neighbor” is hard for Shapiro, then kal vachomer, the delicate art of sandwich making, is beyond him. While The Shapiro should be unmistakably kosher — something that matters to approximately 17% of American Jews — it should also be as perverse as suggesting that a Jew is not Jewish.

First, the bread. Shapiro is on the record as a matzo lover, and, paradoxically, he highlighted the lack of “exciting taste” as matzo’s big draw. Nonetheless the bread has to be challah. The Jewish bread most recently at the center of a moral panic is the obvious choice. Over-toasted to dull down the challah’s exciting taste, the bread should be cold when the sandwich is served.

No condiments on The Shapiro. Like its namesake, this sandwich should be sandpaper dry and just as abrasive.

For the protein, gefilte fish. The jellied and from a jar kind, of course. Layer on the slice of Swiss cheese that he left off the Sanders for good measure. (You’re allowed to have cheese with fish according to kashrut!)

There must be a vegetal element of this sandwich, even though Shapiro once suggested that a follower “burn down the VeggieTales factory.” Lettuce, horseradish and radishes all make too much sense, so we will add cooked Moroccan carrots. Shapiro’s wife is Moroccan, which he has, in the past, taken as an opportunity to talk down the food of his Ashkenazi ancestors. Rather than look for a fitting vegetable for The Shapiro, we must make the sandwich true to form and make a point. What point? Not the point.

So there you have it — The Shapiro: A gefilte fish sandwich on over-toasted challah with Swiss cheese and Moroccan carrots. Not my cup of tea, but don’t worry Ben, you won’t catch me yucking your yum. B’teavon!

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.