El Al Will Trial Sanctioned Minyanim On Long Haul Flights, But What Else Can Be Done To Solve Potential Issues?

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In 2018, then secular owned El Al accused chareidim of physical violence which led to the flight being delayed and later diverted due to Shabbos timing.

I interviewed passengers onboard that flight and found ATC audio proving that in fact the captain of that flight lied to passengers and ATC. El Al later walked back those comments, but the damage was done. Even to today, Israeli media still blames that flight diversion on chareidim, despite El Al admitting that was incorrect.

At the time I said that it seemed inevitable that a Dr. Dao situation would eventually arise.

When the Rozenberg family purchased the controlling stake in El Al, I had half a dozen off the record meetings with the company’s new ownership, frequent flyer program, and executive management team, and one of the many items I brought up was the need to think critically about solutions for how to cater to the charedi community and avoid such incidents from happening again.

That included a designated time for a minyan, improved kosher meals, and several potential ways to avoid issues with seat assignments for charedim. For example, perhaps there could be a small upsell for a “Daf yomi” section that would come with some onboard learning amenities and have blue and pink rows for those who so desire.

Just last month there was an incident where an El Al flight attendant threatened an on-board minyan with fines for congregating in the galley. Historically, US airlines have been more accommodating than El Al for having a minyan onboard in the galley.

Wisely, El Al will now trial sanctioned minyanim on long-haul flights when it isn’t possible to daven before or after the flight. That means if a flight departs Tel Aviv at 1am and arrives into NYC at 7am, there wouldn’t be a minyan option on that flight, but a flight leaving NYC at 9pm and arriving into Tel Aviv at 2pm would have a minyan option.

Minyan times will be announced and flight attendants will close the bathrooms and leave the rear galley for minyan use. Masks will be required at all times.

I’d say this is a great start for removing potential flash points for arguments onboard El Al flights. Now, if only the seat issue could be resolved and an upsell option for Tabernacle catered kosher mehadrin meals would be introduced!

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106 Comments On "El Al Will Trial Sanctioned Minyanim On Long Haul Flights, But What Else Can Be Done To Solve Potential Issues?"

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This is horific and will lead to a revolt. Bathrooms will be CLOSED in one section of the plane?


I’m pretty sure the idea is not to close ALL bathrooms on the plane at once… that would of course be disgusting. It will just be in one section in the back of the plane. The front and middle sections would still have bathrooms as normal. Plus, the people who are davening won’t be using them then. I think you’re right there could be issues, but a trial run seems reasonable.


As a matter of fact, it is Halachicly forbidden for a shul to not have a usable bathroom due to the concern that someone may daven while needing the bathroom which is Halachicly illegal.


This must be a purim Shpiel. No back bathrooms so people can daven?!


To Elal’s disadvantage, the frum public opinion and media view them as anti-charedi, while the secular media views them as always giving in to the charedim, especially since the new ownership.
I don’t think they can get it right.

Don\'t be frummer then halacha

The whole making a minyan kn a flight is crazy. Halacha in those circumstance clearly doesn’t require you to daven with a minyan. And might even be against halacha to daven with a minyan when there is uncovered hair from married Jewish women all around you .

What\'s good for the goose, is good for the gander

If there is ervah in front of you, you may not daven regardless of minyan or no minyan.
But it is not that difficult to look the other way or cover one’s eyes.
Personally I have a hard time davening with a minyan on a plane, the speed and the movement make it difficult, but let’s not not make it into an aveira.
If you want to daven beyechidus (or watch another movie) you are welcome to do so.
No one’s forcing you to join the minyan

Maier Solomon

Thank you RABBI What’s for that p’sak. You must’ve gone to the same yeshiva as Rabbi Don’t. Unless you’re both the same am ha’aretz.


This is a business decision. Their customers desire to daven with a minyan so they are trying to accommodate them. Just like they provide movies even though halacha clearly doesn’t require anyone to watch a movie.
Additionally, Halacha clearly doesn’t require you to daven with a minyan? Are you a rabbi? If there is a minyan available and it can be done in a safe organized manner why wouldn’t you be obligated to daven with a minyan.
As far as uncovered hair, that’s much more likely to be a problem davening in your seat than it is davening with a minyan in the galley. (unless you are advocating skipping davening altogether).


Where is the Jewish pride? This is the ONLY Jewish airline on the world. A Jewish owned airline flying many Jews on the plane. Why the heck shouldn’t a business cater to their clientele and make minyanim?
Saudia Arabia airlines has a prayer room, as does Etihad and even Emirates. But self hating and/or self conscious Jews have a tolerance for everyone but themselves. Cut it out!




It’s assur.
Rav Moshe, rav elyashiv, rav wosner, rav shrtenbuch, rav ovadia Yosef, Rav schechter have all said in response it’s assur to daven on a plane unless it’s 10 men sitting within ד אמות of each other.
The halachik issues start with women’s hair being uncovered and continues to סקנת נפשות and davening in a place that is disgusting (bathroom etc) that’s before we even start with chillul hashem etc.

Maier Solomon

Sorry, Mr Infrequent. I myself once flew sitting next to Rav Wosner – and guess what? We davened with a minyan.
So with that said, I doubt if your quote of the other poskim have any truth to it.
ps You relared to the last 2 poskim, rabbis Don’t and Infrequent?

Maier Solomon

Thank you RABBI Don’t for that p’sak


Gotta love the fact that a chareidi owns Israel’s only major airline!


I’m not sure what you mean by up selling a Daf yomi section. Israeli and American law would prevent Elal from preventing a woman from joining such a section.

Perhaps the most effective way to do this would be to designate a section of the plane where the IFE is disabled.


Great idea!


If there’s an area with no IFE (in-flight entertainment) or daf yomi area, it doesn’t have to be split to blue and pink. All passengers in that area from both genders would be happy to switch seats for their own benefit.


In flight entertainment?


Maybe just stream the 8 minute Daf?


For a 12 hour flight? What will eight minute help?


he meant 8 minute a word daf

Maier Solomon

The entire shas. Pick your Daf




put the daf on the IFE!


Some upscale hotels have women’s only floors. Apparently many business women and executives prefer this.

Henry Frisch

Last time I flew El Al Daf Yomi was an option on the video program at my seat.


they also used to have the full series of torahlive.com videos on the IFE (though I think that they, unfortunately, took it off), they can as well leave all the games, etc., leave aviation videos, etc.
although I wonder how all this would be working out legally, it’s still good to see some movement in the right direction.


The plan is to do this immediately following meal service, so anyone joining the Minyan won’t have time to eat anyway. No need for better food.


I think designating a time for a minyan is a great idea. Really sets Elal apart and dramatically lowers the risks to in flight operations.

Ira Treuhaft

When are your posting the old off the record chats.

Blake Markowitz

Hope it works out. But is going to get interesting when union gets involved.


I’m not a fan of minyanim on planes, but having something organized in advance, so everyone knows what’s going on, is a great idea.

History Buff

Good try but it won’t work. Imagine the arguments about zmanim, Nusach, and masks. They will need a designated space for a minyan factory.


I doubt that people with such views travel to EY, and especially with El Al…


The unwritten rule is that chazzan picks the Nusach if there’s no official minhag. That’s actually how it works in Kenny Rozenberg’s office.

Jack out of the Box

I imagine myzmanim.com is involved in planning the schedules.


yes, that would be a cool idea.
btw MyZmanim.com once asked everyone to send an email to ELAL to ask them to add their program/Zmanim in the IFE.

I can just imagine the notification popping up on the screen “sof zman krias shma is in 10 minutes…”

Jack out of the Box

“8-16 minutes from now depending on direction and wind speed changes.”


Looking forward! I think this is an amazing start!


A positive step but removing services (bathrooms) is a bad idea. Imagine the scene when someone’s kid needs the bathroom and it’s blocked by prayers and the available ones have a long line.

This will only work if nobody else is inconvenienced especially as the majority of passengers are likely uninterested in this service.

For what it’s worth, Saudi Arabian airlines has seats removed permanently specifically for prayers.


@ the time of shachris, usually most people are asleep.


The minyan will be scheduled and people will be given advanced notice to use the bathroom in that section of the airplane.

It’s better than when turbulence occurs or the captain puts on the seatbelt sign and nobody is allowed to get up and go…


Have you been in Saudia? They have removed rows and a designated prayer section.
Or on any ME airline during Ramadan, the FAs spend most of the flight serving meals. Regular scheduled times for the non-fasting passengers. Interspersed with meals at the correct times for fasting passengers. Also announcements by the crew for prayer times and direction.


i just googled those airlines and it’s a nice idea for those wanting to pray on board. The little prayer room is not in the aisle, which is a hazard and an inconvenience to anyone in and around those rows and it offers the bare necessities one would need to offer their prayers. I don’t know anything about Islam having different “nusach” (l’havdil), separate men/women prayers, etc. but why can’t this be an idea? Isn’t giving up some space a better idea (and those purchasing tickets know exactly what type of airline they’re buying onto) than having someone unknowingly purchasing a ticket and all of a sudden having 10-20 people converge on their aisle seat and then having the media blast the people who are davening?


Can you simply get them to take the Borenstein food which THEY OWN and simply make it edible. Not asking for much here
Give out a pastrami sandwich with fries. They should hire some heimishe caterers to advise. My travel frozen food from pomegranate is delicious always.


Do you really believe that fries will be an easy food to pull off on a flight? Most people understand that aside from expense other variables are at play, like which foods travel and reheat well or not at all.


Idk, that’s why they should ask the experts at frozen EDIBLE meals- pomegranate is one that I know of. I’m sure other groceries like breadberry also have it figured out

Chaim Parker

How much space is in the back anyway? Room for 15-20, MAX? That’s being generous. It’ll spill into the rows in the back. This is such a bad idea.


I’d even pay for a premium not fresh meal!


And what’s the plan when a woman will want to join in? Here come the lawsuits…


Can’t a woman join in, as long as she is standing in a separate area from the men? I’m pretty sure most poskim hold that in a temporary davening place that is not regularly used as a shul, a mechitzah isn’t necessary, just that men and women are standing in different areas?


Lol, I once made a maariv minyan at a “YU” wedding, and 2 girls joined. They stood in the back.

Jack out of the Box

Who says a woman can’t join?
Just if a woman decides to be the chazzan she’ll probably end up without a minyan.

Maier Solomon

You’d probably find someone from “Women off the Wall” on every flight.


Where are the wheelchair accessible bathrooms on ElAL planes?


On the wings


Reading the comments from that first link about Flight 002, some of them really stand out, like this one:

#2, no Jew will want to buy their business. The chances of some other Jew starting his own airline are higher than that.

Maier Solomon

That actually happened – Tower Air.


I can just imagine this go as sideways as possible. (El Al has a Joe Biden reputation, “never underestimate El Al’s ability to…things up.) For starters, I see them forcing shachris while it’s still dark, only because that’s when it’s convenient to the overall schedule. (And btw, such mistakes cannot be blamed on only ignorance, nor malice. It’s a motley mix of both.)


You could be right. If they are going to do this as a trial, they need to make sure that it’s actually feasible within the overall schedule and doesn’t inconvenience the staff or other passengers. Hopefully, there is a way to make it work at the right davening times that doesn’t inconvenience others- I’m not sure what the specific parameters are that would interrupt the overall flight schedule, but I’m assuming ElAl does. If it can work then great, but if not then it’s a bad idea. Obviously, sanctioning Shacharit time while it’s still dark has no purpose.


For the past week el al stopped responding to WhatsApp.


Keep all bathrooms open.


I stopped reading after “blue” and “pink” Rows.
Why not keep the women jailed in the kitchen too?
Fly private if you care that much. It’s 2022.


That has been my first reaction in the past as well, I get where you’re coming from. But the truth is that if they have a section of the plane- in the back- that is for separate seating, and that you have to opt-in to voluntarily- meaning, nobody will be forced to switch seats after the fact- then I wonder how this will negatively impact the other passengers? They will be in further-ahead rows, sitting in a mixed section. Does it negatively impact them that there are others sitting behind them in separate sections? I’m not sure, if so I’d be interested to hear.


I flew United a few weeks ago. It was a 4:20 pm flight from Newark to Tel Aviv. The crew announced very early in the flight that the time for maariv would be after the meal and would be in two areas (middle and rear) to keep the crowds down a bit. Worked great. Everyone knew what to wait for and where to go. Shachris was more of a problem. No announcement and Netz was very close to the end of the flight – interfered with breakfast. Also there was strong turbulence so everyone had to sit – except some refused to move. I can’t even defend them that they were in Shmonei Esreh – it was 5 minutes after we started. I went to my seat and davened there, out of everyone’s way.

Frequent Flyer

i think Elal has to fix their frequent flyer club ASAP if they want repeat customers. Most people that fly elal say that they will never use them again. They have terrible customer service!


Optimal way of implementing a blue/pink section would probably be to have the booking system somehow set up with a checkbox option for “opt me in for blue/pink seating for additional $50 (etc.)”, that can be checked when making the reservation. Then, 72 hours before the flight, (or whatever number) the system determines if, and how many of these seats will be needed. At this point, opting in or out is closed, and all those who opted in will get the additional charge.


FYI, the new planes that ELAL flies to Israel have only HALF the amount of bathrooms that the older ELAL 747 planes used to have. Even without the Minyon idea, the ELAL planes has too few bathrooms. The Minyon idea is great, however all of the bathrooms MUST be available to all ELAL passengers as there are very few bathrooms on the current planes that ELAL flies to Israel.


nothing will help until el-al has a major attitude change towards charedim .i am never one to scream anti semite but somehow el al always manages to give that bad feeling.
to contrast i flew to england last week with one way el al and one way easyjet.on easy jet they announced on the pa system that all are invited to pray in the back after they finish giving out the food.el al would never do that.
as an aside on easy jet they politely reminded every one to wear masks while el-al patrolled the plane with an annoying overbearing attitude.i fell asleep during the flight only to have a female flight attendant poke me on the shoulder numerous times (which they know good and well is inapropriate) until i woke up ,because my mask wasnt properly covering my nose!


Great idea however not so practical.
1. you definitely need all the bathrooms as already there are not enough.
2. If it disturbs people, which a gathering may do, it will be a chill hshem and is wrong ethically as well.
3. They should improve their traditional channel and offer up to date daf yomi shiurim, good jewish clean videos, and any other kosher entertainment. I think that will give people a much more enjoyable flight.


1. Its for 10 minutes for mincha/maariv and 30 minutes for shachris. Shachris, maybe your a drop correct, but for a 10/12 hr flight its only 5% or less of the time so it shouldnt be so bad.
2. The people buying the tickets know that there are minyanim and can choose differnet seats or a different flight. just disturbing someone is not a chillul hashem unless its the wrong thing to do, and people anyways make minyanim…
3. +1

bnei alliyah

i just flew united to Israel and they made an announcement what time and which section shachris will be. They cleared out an area and they announced it on their own and accommodated multiple Minyanim, I think airlines should learn from them!!

Me too

+1 I had the same experience with United


El Al truthfully states in their advertisements that they are not just an airline, they are Israel. This should warn prospective customers that they will receive the same poor customer service that Israeli businesses are known for.


By adding minyanim thats exactly what they are trying to change…


I just flew in on EL AL. The traditional channel has “All Daf” with all the Daf Yomi mesechtos up to date and shiurim in three languages.


Dan, next time you talk to ElAl please share that then need a customer service call center. The whatsapp method doesnt work. I tried to go back to flying ElAl but i need to talk to a human when there is an issue. This resulted in my choosing united for my next trip.


i think that gimmel is right now actually trying to pass a law now that makes big companies be required to have a human answering the phone. from what i heard it passed the first reading (needs 3)


Agreed. I’ve been trying to contact Elal for days to freeze a lite fare ticket. WhatsApp doesn’t work and there’s no answer on the other number. I’ve tried calling the minute they open and still waited over 2 hours. That means no ones there.
Do you think I would win a CC dispute?