On his first visit to Washington this week as prime minister, Naftali Bennett had never intended to stay over the weekend. After his planned meeting with US President Joe Biden on Thursday, Bennett was to swiftly board a plane for Israel.
But the tragic terror attack in Afghanistan forced a delay to the meeting, from Thursday to Friday, and the religious Israeli premier’s team quickly made arrangements for him to spend Shabbat at his hotel.
COVID-19 restrictions meant the premier and his staff could not leave the hotel to attend synagogue. However, a solution was found.
With some help from the Israeli Embassy and Chabad’s Washington DC representatives, one of the hotel’s rooms was converted into a makeshift shul, complete with a Torah scroll and ark.
Prayer books and yarmulkas were also provided to the team to enable all those who wish to attend.
לראשונה הקימו בית כנסת מאולתר במלון שבו מתארח ראש ממשלת ישראל. הקונסול וקצין המנהלה של שגרירות ישראל בוושינגטון דאג לספר תורה גדול מבית חב"ד ובמה. ושם יתפללו בשבת בנט ואנשי צוותו. הערב תתקיים קבלת שבת עם דבר תורה, קידוש וארוחת ערב pic.twitter.com/purOaJwQVw
— Itamar Eichner (@itamareichner) August 27, 2021
The delegation and traveling press also shared a Shabbat dinner at the hotel.
The prime minister and his team will return to Israel after the Jewish Sabbath ends.