El Al and the 90th Wedding Anniversary — the Mikvah Connection

There is an extraordinary link between last Shabbat’s El Al’s plane diversion to Athens (as magnificently described by Ben Chafetz in his article) and the upcoming celebration of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and Rebbetzin’s 90th wedding anniversary, an event which is being celebrated this week on the 14th of Kislev (November 22) for its cosmic impact.

And the subject of that link rests with The Chabad of Athens’s Mikvah project!

Think about it for one moment – On the 14th of Kislev, 1928, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, married Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneersohn (1901-1988).

On the 14th of Kislev of 1953, at a farbrengen marking his 25th wedding anniversary, the Rebbe said to his Chassidim: “This is the day that bound me to you, and you to me.”

The passengers of the El Al flight witnessed firsthand what has become the fulfillment of that anniversary declaration – the sending out of an army of Shluchim – The Emissaries to all corners of the globe for the mission of serving fellow Jews in every way possible 24/7 and under all circumstances! In this case, the Shluchim are Rav Mendel Hendel, Rebbetzin Nechama Hendel, and their son Levi of the Chabad of Athens. Could any of us imagine receiving a call some few hours before Shabbat that you were going to have 150 hungry and exhausted “guests” for Shabbat! But to a Shaliah of the Rebbe, that is simply a call for mobilizing resources, no questions asked.

As a result of the Shabbat which was also heralded as extraordinary in so many ways by Yehuda Stark, the idea surfaced among the passengers to thank Chabad for its hospitality by contributing to the completion of the Mikvah for the benefit of the Jewish Community of Athens. Again, Ben Chafetz has beautifully written an article appealing to the world to support the mikvah.

Connection of the Mikvah project to the Anniversary celebration

The link between the 90th Wedding Anniversary and the events of last Shabbat become clear if one looks at the initiative on the part of Chabad to have world Jewry recognize the Anniversary by taking on resolutions, and to participate in projects which were near and dear to the Rebbe and the Rebbetzin as a wedding gift to the couple.

Chief among those “dear projects” was the promotion of the laws of family purity – called Taharat Hamishpacha and to immerse in the Mikvah by all Jewish married women!
As divine providence would show, I participated in a Global call last night organized by Chabad women in connection with the upcoming anniversary. And a major topic was once again – the Mikvah and a project called “Mikvah 1000 – Be a Part of the 10,000 Ladies To The Mikvah Gift To The Rebbe.”

As the founder of a nonprofit Together in Happiness/B’Yachad B’Osher dedicated to shalom bayit through marriage education, there is no greater deed for Jewish marriages than observing the laws of family purity Taharat Hamishpacha and immersing in the mikvah. Our recent blog calling for a Peace Corp for Marriage Education is premised on all of Jewry advocating for Shalom Bayit in all its dimensions.

Inherent in Shalom bayit is the fulfillment of the laws of Taharat Hamishpacha and particularly for young brides.

The website that is replete with articles related to the mikvah and marriage and shalom bayit is


The website also contains an introductory video describing the mikvah

I strongly believe in divine providence and to me the diversion of the flight of El Al (my favorite airline!) to Athens and the timing of the anniversary could only result in the best wedding present to the Rebbe and Rebbetzin – the building of a mikveh in Athens and the perpetuation of shalom bayit for generations to come.

Please give generously to the Mikvah project and spend time learning about the mikvah and its role in preserving shalom bayit. May we only celebrate anniversaries and all happy occasions with the coming of the Moshiah in the days ahead.


About the Author
Susan Barth is founder and director of Together in Happines and its Center for Marriage Education, promoting stronger, healthier marriages impacting Israeli society. A Project Management Professional (PMP) and businesswoman from the US, Susan sponsored and chaired the First International Conference on Marriage Education in Israel (attended by over 360 professionals) in Jerusalem in memory of her parents and launched I-PREP, an innovative marriage education curriculum.