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)