A Unique Shabbos – At Ben Gurion Airport


ben-gurionDozens of Yidden spent an unforgettable Shabbos at Ben Gurion International Airport after their plane landed moments before Shabbos began late Friday afternoon. Approximately 80 Yidden, including small children, left Switzerland on a flight that had been scheduled to fly in the morning but was delayed several hours.

After the plane took off and it became clear that it would not land at Ben Gurion Airport in time for the passengers to arrive at their homes before Shabbos began, ZAKA medical and rescue authorities went into action to make arrangements for the passengers to spend Shabbos at the airport.

Working against the clock, they coordinated with the rabbonim from the airport and El Al, although the flight was operated by Swiss Air. Petach Tikvah and Kfar Chabad authorities helped organize the special Shabbos, and a Bnei Brak caterer and bakery donated challahs and food for the seudos.

Petach Tikvah donated mattresses and blankets from their emergency headquarters, and the airport arranged a hall for the Shabbos seudos. A shul with Sifrei Torah is located in the airport.

“It was a Shabbat of re-awakening,” said ZAKA volunteer Baraleh Yakobowitz. “Everyone sat around the table and sang Shabbat songs, while hundreds of curious bystanders saw how we sanctify the Shabbat and the Creator. It was a wonderful Shabbat.”

{Read more at Arutz Shevah/Matzav.com}


  1. Instead of praising these people we should be castigating them. Why fly on Friday? Why get on the plane if it’s delayed and will arrive at shabbos?

  2. Kol HaKavod to ZAKA and Chabad and others for making Shabbos.

    We all can write comments crticizing however lets look at things positively and give praise where it is due.

  3. What a nice way to accomodate the stranded travelers. Right or wrong for choosing the flight that they did, they needed Shabbos and got it. Beautiful!

  4. Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky said that while the nesoyone of the earlier generation was Shmiras Shabbos, ours is Erev Shabbos. The point is to learn constructively from their experience. Beware of travelling on short Friday afternoons.

  5. to 1 & 2: Do you really think they got on the plane knowing it would land so late? It’s highly likely that the plane was delayed for hours on the runway after they had boarded. The airlines do not let you leave. Anyone who flies knows this. Therefore, we are praising everyone involved.

  6. to EY YID, while you are right that ZAKA and Chabad deserve kudos, the others are right about people flying so close to shabbos, although in this case i think we can be dan them lekaf zechus that they were probably on the plane early in the morning and were not allowed to get off because of security reasons. Switzerland is not a long trip from E”Y and the people probably felt justified flying on Friday.

  7. Why is everyone so quick to judge???? You don’t even know the whole story and you’re already condemning them? Aside from the fact that the article says that only after the plane took off did it become clear that there wouldn’t be enough time to get home, so obviously it’s not as simple as you may think.

  8. I can only imagine the tzaar these people suffered as they sat on the runway kicking themselves for scheduling a Friday flight. I have sat for six hours on the runway and we departed only the following day, also with a delay. All in all, we arrived in Israel 26 hours after our scheduled time. To add to the excitement, a passenger suffered an almost fatel heart attack on board and the plane detoured thru Paris to get the medical treatment for him. You can never know…

  9. I think Zaka and Chabad deserve praise but you dont fly in the winter on a Friday especially with the uncertain weather. period. Some years ago we left JFK on thurs evening to arrive in manchester at 6.00am friday morning. After delays, plane breakdowns etc we arrived in our home in Manchester at 3.58pm …time of Shabbos 4.17pm and that was leaving the evening before!!

  10. Wow what an inspiring story
    and those that disagree must daven at the OTHER Shul on the island of their own making

    as Jews we try to improve ourselves not our neighbor so if you have a negitive comment about this and so many other stories here and the other sites like this please internalize it
    i would…, my Rav recommends…., i learned….
    don’t project
    they…, you….,

    remember a smile is a CURVE that sets so many things STRAIGHT

  11. #18 and others:
    No way can one compare flying from JFK to England or EY with flying in from Switzerland. How many people fly from NY to LA on Erev Shabbos? That’s a longer flight than EY to Switzerland. They were, as others have pointed out, most likely grounded on the runway and had no choice. Let’s look at this for the Kiddush Hashem that it is and stop looking for things to criticize.

  12. Whatever happened to being dan l’kaf zechus? The snows and blizzards in Europe messed up all the flight schedules!
    Too bad it didn’t say so in the article (though I’m dan matzav.com l’kaf zechus!!)