Chabad Shaliach In Tokyo Who Prepared For Thousands Is Disappointed

Rabbi Mendi Sudakevich (Photo: Chabad Tokyo)

As Tokyo hosts a no-crowd Olympics in the shadow of the coronavirus, Rabbi Mendi Sudakevich is feeling disappointed, Ynet reported.

Rabbi Sudakevich, who has been the Chabad shaliach in Tokyo for 20 years, was expecting to host masses of Israelis before a resurgence of the coronavirus led to the decision to hold the 2021 Olympics without spectators. Prior to the decision, Rabbi Sudakevich and his family were busy preparing for the influx of Jewish guests who would need kosher food.

“It was mainly about food,” Rabbi Sudakevich said. “Originally we started renting out places near the shul and we organized a team that could serve a large audience.”

Rabbi Sudakevich said that in the past he hosted about 1,000 visitors for an event.

“During one Chanukah evening that coincided with a football game that took place here in the city, we received about a thousand visitors. We expected the Olympics to be a larger event, not to mention it goes on for three weeks straight. But then everything just fell apart.”

“The media was against the games, and a lot of pressure was exerted in an attempt to cancel the Olympics,” Rabbi Sudakevich explained. “But as the deadline approached, the people seemed to internalize that eventually, everything would go as planned. [Tokyo’s residents] eventually reconciled with the games taking place after they were told there would be no crowd.”

This is the second time that Rabbi Sudakevich was left disappointed by a change of plans due to the coronavirus. Prior to the rescheduled 2020 Olympics, he had been planning to establish a temporary Jewish center in the Olympic Village with a full roster of weekday and Shabbos tefillos.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. Suppose someone prepared a hospital for thousands of ill, but no one needs it, would that someone be disappointed or happy that his services are not required?

    Supposesomeone prepared a soup kitchen for thousands of hungry, but no one needed it because they weren’t hungry, would that person be disappointed? Should he pray that people be hungry and require his services?!

    B”h there is no need for the services, Rabbi, why are you disappointed?

  2. You’re all looking at it from the wrong angle… For those Yidden, particularly the chiloni Israelis that would’ve bothered going to Tokyo for something as shallow as the olympics, then it could’ve been some of the biggest zechusim they would have ever got, would’ve been to encounter with this Chabad shaliach. He probably would have got hundreds of them to eat kosher food, put tefillin on and daven at least once a day, and host Shabbatons for them. He was waiting there to be mezakeh the rabbim. What a tzaddik and what a loss that they couldn’t come. Believe me, anyone who had the time and money to go to Tokyo is currently not sitting being oisek in Torah and mitzvos as we speak…