PHOTOS: Plane Carrying Satmar Rebbe Diverted To Dulles Airport Due To Storm; Local Askonim Arrange Minyan & Food


As is the custom of a snowy Baltimore morning, there was a plethora of closings that spanned the educational and business sectors. However, the business of chesed was fully operational, at all hours. One local businessman was about to go in to high gear for a very unusual occurrence, especially around these parts.

At approximately 7:30 AM, after long hours of chesed calls, an anonymous Baltimore businessman heard the voice mail alert tone on his cell while in line at the market. When he noticed the missed calls from the 718 and 845 area codes, numbers that appeared to be very familiar due to the scope of his business network, he immediately returned the calls. One call leads to the unraveling of a very troubling situation; The Satmar Rebbe, Rav Aron Teitelbaum Shlita, en route from Mexico to JFK, has been diverted to Dulles. This contact called Moshe* because he is the only one of his contacts that reside proximate to Dulles. At least his nerves have calmed knowing that he was about to, once again, be facilitating a chesed.

Moshe went to his Rebbe, Harav Yissochor Dov Eichenstein, who then assembled a group of baalei batim from Baltimore’s new mikdash m’at, Merkaz Torah U’Tefilah, who traveled down to Dulles airport. The Satmar Rebbe, who is in availus, needed a minyan and a proper meal. In no time at all, Rebbetzin Eichenstein prepared a feast fit for a Rebbe. With a Sefer Torah, Chalav Yisrael milk and enough chevra for a minyan, the travel to Dulles began.

The Satmar Rebbe’s plane landed at 8:34 AM, but the Rebbe and his entourage were prevented from disembarking because it was a continuing flight that can only open at the final destination, as per US law. Furthermore, the three hour tarmac rule did not apply because it was non US airline.

Fortuitously, Rav Eichenstein and his mispalillim had kefitzas haderech and arrived at 10:15. Simultaneously, Reb Levi Shem Tov, Chabad’s representative in Washington, was working with TSA, the Mexican Ambassador to the USA and others to have the airline open the doors for the Rebbe to disembark. These efforts did not suffice to open the doors of the plane and the Merkaz Torah U’Tefilah group sat tight in the international arriving parking areas.

Finally at 11:40 the flight was declared discontinued and all travelers could then alight. The Satmar Rebbe and his group were ushered through customs as VIPs and headed to the suite reserved at the Marriot Dulles where davening and breakfast would take place. The Rebbe showed tremendous hakaras hatov to Rav Eichenstein and all those involved in performing this valuable chesed. The Rebbe was quite impressed at the mesiras nefesh given for his personal situation and gave a bracha to the entire group.

While in the Washington areas the Rebbe visited various Mosdos HaTorah. All who were fortunate to be mishtataif in today’s unbelievable chesed gained tremendous chizuk.

Click HERE for photos.

(Source: Baltimore Jewish Life)


  1. My baltomore brother-in-law was part of the minyan, he told me he was zoche to have this once in a lifetime chance to be part of the satmar’s rebbe’s minyan, the rebbe thanked him greatly, he said he will never forget this great encounter with one of the greatest rebbe of our times.

  2. #2: Dulles is not in Washington, it is between Washington and Baltimore. And given that they needed a good sized welcoming crew, it was going to come fro either Silver Spring or Baltimore. And no offense intended, but it made more sense to try Baltimore.

  3. OrLeOlam – You’re probably thinking of BWI/Marshall, which is a little SSW of Baltimore, toward Washington. Dulles is way out, SW of the District, on the Virginia side, far from everything, but there’s not much of a chassidish community in Greater Washington, other than Lubavitch, so they likely had more contacts in Baltimore. BTW (no offense intended) you probably also mean OrLaOlam (“to the world”), or however you wish to transliterate a kamatz, as opposed to LeOlam (forever).

  4. I live in Baltimore, Rabbi eichenstein is a young talmid chocom and he and his family are very nice people. He is a Belzer chosid,and used to Daven every shabbos by the belzer Ruv in the big shul he is considered close to a certain point to the Belzer ruv and to other gedolim

  5. A wonderful story…and some clarification to the comments section. I used to live in Silver Spring Maryland, a DC suburb (45 minutes SOUTH of Baltimore). Dulles is indeed in Virginia and is about 1 hour and 30 minute drive from Baltimore. Silver Spring, which has a thriving yeshiva community with a successful yeshiva gedola led by HaRav Ahron Lopiansky shlita (formerly by HaRav Gedalia Anemer zatzal), is a heck of a lot closer to Dulles than Baltimore is. Yes there are frum Jews in DC proper as well as a handful in Fairfax, but Silver Spring is by far the largest and most capable community in proximity to Dulles. I also was a bit shocked that Baltimore was contacted and not Silver Spring. At the end of the day, it’s a heartwarming story and it’s awesome for those people from Baltimore to have that experience.

  6. We know it’s really time for Moshiach when we hear that a Rabbi from Chabad was working hard to assist the Satmar Rebbe. The memories from my childhood of Chabad Vs Satmar, should be long forgotten.

  7. Dulles Airport is in a town called Chantilly Va, wherever that might be. Why is it such a big deal? The person working on behalf of the Rebbe, according to the article, knew of only one contact in the area, this Moshe. (“This contact called Moshe* because he is the only one of his contacts that reside proximate to Dulles.”)

  8. For what I read from other websites, Rabbi Levi Shem Tov was successful in getting the Rebbe off that plane:

    “Simultaneously, American Friends of Lubavitch Director Rabbi Levi Shemtov of Washington, D.C. was contacted by Satmar Chasidim in Kiryas Joel. Rabbi Shemtov used his government contacts to arrange for the Rebbe’s earlier departure from the aircraft and very quick passage through customs, though the plane and its passengers were delayed on the tarmac after landing for about three hours.”

  9. I grew up in DC area. Dulles Airport is definitely in Virginia (as is Reagan National Airport).

    BWI Airport is in Maryland between Baltimore and Washington.

    What a privilege to have the Satmar Rebbe Shlita in DC area! And how great that Chabad was helping to facilitate things! May this Achdus bring the GEULA closer!

  10. Go to the collive website. There are beautiful pixs of the Rebbe with Rabbi Levi Shem Tov, Rabbi Eichenstein, and others.

    What a beautiful display of achdus. May this bring the Geula NOW!