During the recent Yom Tov of Sukkot, a dedicated group of young Lubavitchers were on hand in JFK International Airport, New York City’s largest, to engage Jews in the Mitzvos of the Yom Tov and wish them a ‘Chag Someach’.
Throughout the year, one can always find Jews in the airport, but especially during the Sukkot holiday season, large numbers of Jews can be found flying to and from Israel, but also other varied destinations. This influx provides a perfect opportunity to engage them in the Rebbe’s Mivtzoim.
Among the Bochurim was current Shliach to the Airport Yossi Rapp, who often organizes and leads such groups. R’ Rapp estimates that close to 800 Jews were privileged to shake the Four Species, an exorbitant amount considering the three short days of Chol Hamoed. R’ Rapp is following in the footsteps and continuing the legacy of his beloved father, who dedicated his life to this tremendous effort of being the Rebbe’s man at the Airport.
Chabad outreach activities in the airport began in the early 1970s, when Rabbi Yekusiel Menachem Rapp, OB”M, Yossi’s father, was still a Bochur, and would make the trek to the airport to spread Yiddishkait and act on the Rebbe’s various Mivtzoim. Specifically, Rabbi Rapp would engage the El Al staff and officials, which quickly developed into close personal connections with high-level executives of the company, as well as ranking officials from the Israeli security establishment.
Rabbi Rapp utilized those relationships to bring many Yidden to the Rebbe, and closer to Yiddishkait. Additionally, over the years he was able to arrange special transport for the Rebbe’s Matzos, so it would arrive in Israel in time for the holiday of Pesach.
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