Shul runnings: Chabad’s plan for Olympic success in South Korea


Jewish athletes are set to receive a warm welcome at an otherwise chilly winter Olympics, thanks to the efforts of Chabad.

The upcoming games will be taking place in South Korea next February. The Lubavitch Chassidic sect, which sends emissaries around the world, has had a presence in the country since 2008, when Rabbi Osher and Mussy Litzman set up a branch there.

There are hundreds of Jews living in South Korea, mainly Jewish servicemen at United States military bases, as well as Israeli diplomats and tourists.

However, with athletes, journalists and Olympic fans expected to arrive, the number of Jews in the country is expected to number in the thousands.

“Our goal is to make sure that every Jew coming to South Korea has a powerful Jewish experience and a place to feel at home,” Rabbi Litzman told, the website for the Lubavitch movement.

The Litzmans plan to open a pop-up kosher restaurant in Pyeongchang, the South Korean city where the games will take place.

Their intention is also to open a kosher room in the Olympic village, as well as pre-packaging thousands of kosher meals.

The Chabad presence in the country will also increase, with eight multilingual rabbinical students due to help out, with daily Jewish classes and seminars planned in the Olympic village.

This is not the first time Chabad has provided kosher amenities at an Olympics.

At last year’s summer Olympics at Rio de Janeiro, Lubavitch opened a Jewish community centre, temporary synagogue and four kosher concession stands in order to help the tens of thousands of Jews who travelled to the Brazilian city for the games. 

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