Despite reports that the Israeli Foreign Ministry strike has threatened preparations in Nepal for what is hailed as the world's biggest celebration of the Jewish Passover holiday (Pesach), Chabad clarified that seder night feast will be held regardless of strikes.
Rabbi Chezki Lifshitz, the Chabad emissary to Nepal, acknowledged that without the help of the Israeli embassy, the containers holding supplies for Passover will likely not be allowed to leave port in India, where they are currently held.
Nevertheless, Lifshitz, who organizes the four massive seders across Nepal each year with his wife Chani, refused to accept cancelling the seder, reports Chabad.org.
“We are currently working through many options,” reported Lifshitz. “We are looking into baking matzah here or maybe sending supplies with a lot of people. I’m sure the seder will take place.”
Lifshitz noted that Chabad is forced to pay for the supplies to remain in storage in India now, stating "there have been many times when we have had problems arranging the seder. But in the end, we have always had success, so we are not worried.”
Each year the Nepal seder draws roughly 1,500 participants, reports Chabad, and has reached the size that there are separate Hebrew and English seders. An estimated 10,000 Israeli tourists visit the country annually.
Shmuel Loebenstein, a rabbinical student who helped arrange the seder in Nepal's Pokhara in 2012, said "I remember looking down from the porch of my room and [seeing] this whole bunch of Israeli Jews, thousands of miles from home, sharing memories, talking about Nepal, about Passover back home; they felt at home. That really set the spirit of the whole Passover in Nepal.”
Foreign Ministry strike justified?
The Foreign Ministry strike that has led to the logistical problems was announced on Sunday. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman slammed the strike on Tuesday for "crossing red lines" and "harming Israel's good name."
Controversy around the strike heightened on Monday after the Finance Ministry claimed that the Foreign Ministry workers earn a very decent salary for Israeli employees. The Foreign Minister's union has fired back, calling the data "illusory."