Maccabi Team Celebrates Shabbat in Prague


April 29, 2006

For many of the thousands of Israelis who came to Prague to cheer their team at the Euro Basketball Final Four playoffs, the event offered an unexpected spiritual dimension.

With such a large number of Jewish people in one place, Chabad seized the opportunity, offering everyone the chance to do a mitzvah. Many wrapped tefillin, said a prayer, and gave some charity. But the effort became dramatic when hundreds celebrated Shabbat with Chabad's Rabbi Manis Barash.

As they made their way into the elegant hall, each guest received a kippa and a siddur, and participated in moving Shabbat prayer services. Over a lavish dinner sponsored by philanthropist Lev Leviev, players and fans listened as Chabad rabbis discussed themes of the weekly Torah reading, and joined in spirited traditional Shabbat melodies.

According to Israel News Network, the Friday game was scheduled to begin early upon the request of Maccabi Coach Pini Gershon, out of respect for the team's fans in Israel, who might otherwise be following the game on Shabbat in Israel. In Prague, the games were scheduled to end minutes before sundown on Friday.

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