The Coalition for Jewish Values today saluted Rabbi and Mrs. Mendel and Nechama Hendel, Chabad shlichim (emissaries) in Athens, Greece, for their efforts on behalf of 200 Jewish passengers forced to spend the Sabbath at Athens’ Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport. Prolonged delays required El Al Flight 002 from New York to Tel Aviv to divert to Athens Friday afternoon, Nov. 16, in order to avoid desecrating the holy day should they have continued on to Israel.
Although the Hendels learned of this situation only at 11 AM local time, Rabbi Hendel and his team swung into action, arranging meals and a memorable Shabbos for the stranded passengers at the Sofitel Hotel. The Mendels and their young son stayed at the Sofitel, leaving the assistant rabbi at the Chabad House with their 130 previously-scheduled guests.
“One must appreciate the tremendous service provided by Chabad and its emissaries around the globe,” said Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld, Vice President of CJV. “No matter where a Jew finds himself, he can count upon Lubavitch shlichim to help. Furthermore, this episode reminds us that no what our differences, we are truly Am Echad, one nation under G-d.”