El Al Passengers Stranded in Thailand, Do Shabbat With Chabad

El Al Passengers Stranded in Thailand, Do Shabbat With Chabad

Chabad House, Bangkok Thailand

by Zalman Nelson - Bangkok, Thailand

June 23, 2009

(lubavitch.com) Extra places were added to the Chabad of Thailand Shabbat table this past weekend after mechanical problems delayed the takeoff of an El-Al flight to Israel and caused the company to cancel the trip to prevent Shabbat desecration.

El-Al booked all 120 passengers at hotels, with provisions for the Shabbat-observant at a hotel across the street from Bangkok’s Chabad center.

“El Al remains committed to avoiding Shabbat desecration, and in this case, it was a costly operation, tens of thousands of dollars,” said an official statement.

More than 30 stranded passengers joined Chabad for prayers and Shabbat meals. While the center usually attracts a lively mixture of about 150 travelers, tourists and businessmen, Rabbi Nechemya Wilhelm said the stranded guests added to the experience.

“For many of passengers it was their first time celebrating Shabbat outside their homes or communities. They were very moved by the experience. It was a pleasure to help them and El-Al keep Shabbat.”

Technically a private company, El-Al is considered the State of Israel's national carrier. Shabbat observant passengers account for an estimated 30 percent of its passengers.

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