Chabad House Opening In Iceland: The Last European Capital Without A Rabbi Gets One

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Traveling as a Orthodox Jew is no easy feat. Simple trips require immense planning in order to find kosher food and locations to pray.

While most Chabad Houses open with the intention to help the local community, they are also a massive help for tourists. We’ve had some of our most memorable Shabbos experiences at Chabad Houses in cities like Buenos Aires, Chiang Mai, Hong Kong, Kobe, Melbourne, Palm Springs, Paris, Sao Paulo, Tokyo, Venice, and more.

I don’t limit my travels to places where I can find kosher food, I’ve happily brought food with me to locales like the Maldives, Palau, Svalbard, and Tasmania. But it sure makes life easier in a country like Thailand that has Chabad operated restaurants in every major city.

I cringe when I have seen some people act like a local Chabad House is only there to meet their needs. They didn’t move far from home and dedicate their lives just to make sure that you have kosher food in a far-flung locale and they most certainly deserve appreciation when they do cater to tourists.

Each Chabad House is responsible for their own fundraising, so I always make sure to leave a donation as a small thank you to the local Shliach. I also try to email them beforehand to see if they might need anything from the US. I’ve checked in suitcases full of meat, yogurt, and even candy for shluchim and their kids and it has always been very warmly received.

At any rate, that’s why I was excited to see the news via Chabad.org that a Chabad House is now opening in Reykjavik. Apparently it’s the last major European capital that has no shul or Rabbi. Chabad of Iceland’s website can be found here.

Thanks to massive expansion by IcelandAir and WOW, there are more flights than ever between the US and Iceland. WOW also offers 3 weekly flights between Tel Aviv and Iceland.

In May, both IcelandAir and WOW will even fly nonstop between Cleveland and Iceland, offering the first nonstop service to Europe since the Continental days. IcelandAir will also fly nonstop from Kansas City to Iceland in May. Continental used to fly 4 times a day between Cleveland and Kansas City, but since United dehubbed Cleveland in 2014 I’ve had to take a connection to visit my in-laws there. Maybe next time we’ll fly one-way nonstop from Cleveland to Iceland and “connect” there to visit my in-laws with a one-way nonstop from Iceland to Kansas City. It sure beats a boring connection in O’Hare 😀

United is even finally starting service to Iceland with a daily nonstop from Newark starting in May. They will even have lie-flat seat in business class, though that may be overkill for the short flight. American is starting nonstop service from Dallas to Iceland in June, also with lie-flat seats in business class.

Both IcelandAir and WOW offer the ability to stopover in Reykjavik while connecting to other cities and having a Chabad House should make that option even more convenient. Chabad of Iceland’s site has some basic tourist info and says that they offer kosher catering, so I’m looking forward to finally visiting Iceland once nonstop flights start from my hometown. The only real question is whether I go in the summer when the weather is better or in the winter when the northern lights shine brighter:

Another #incredible #AuroraBorealis in the #LofotenIslands #Norway #nofilter

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#AuroraBorealis #LofotenIslands #SkagsandenBeach #Norway #Otherworldly #nofilter

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Iceland has been on my bucket list after seeing Something Fishy’s pictures from his PhotoDO there:

 

Is Iceland on your bucket list? What are some of your favorite Chabad Houses you’ve encountered while traveling the world?

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48 Comments On "Chabad House Opening In Iceland: The Last European Capital Without A Rabbi Gets One"

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Ed Travel

Iceland is wonderful, the weather was horrible except for one day it was wonderful then. Nice and sunny. But it is fascinating land…

Eitan

Sponsored post? 🙂

Ephraim

Dan, the lie-flats can’t be any worse than the 4 I had with my wife and 2 kids coming home from MCO last week. That lasted 2 hours.

Moshe

I went in the summer, was still chilli out. We had a blast. Encountered many signs and verbal sentiments of anti semetism there. Hope the rabbi and his family won’t get any of that there

Mohel1

Iceland, the country looking to ban a bris. In fact the bill up for a vote says you can go to jail for 6 years. A poll taken in 2015 showed 70% of people living there are pro palestenian. Spend your money somewhere else.

B a Jew

Iceland hates Israel. I wouldn’t spend my money there either! Let’s supoort those who support us!

HeavenlyJane

https://forward.com/fast-forward/393442/bill-to-ban-circumcision-introduced-in-iceland-s-parliament/ Last news on this topic. Article suggests that bill is motivated by anti-Muslim/anti-immigration sentiments.

Yossi G

Dan, Iceland has been on your bucket list since you told me about the $61 airfare back in 2003 and I went but you didn’t end up going!

Ronny

Your a real mentsch

Shira

I went to Iceland in May. The weather was incredible.

Tuli

I’ve been planning to go for a long time, I’ve heard from people who were there that you can’t compare the summer to the winter and the winter to the summer,
the Problem with planning a trip there in Advance is the weather and the last min bookings are very expensive and most hotels are booked

Cle Rocks

Dan-looking forward to taking advantage of the direct flights from wow airlines in May! I wouldn’t wait till the winter.. Who knows how long these flights will last?

Favorite Chabad restaurant/house is Athens, Greece. Delicious food and extremely nice Rabbi.

A grateful shliach

Special thank you to Dan for enabling many shluchim who are living far from family and are on a shoe string budget to be able to afford to travel to family simchas, the Kinus and more

Ash

Is this chabad house meant for tourist? From my understanding there are 0 Jews in Iceland

Someone who read the article linked above

There are over 100 year-round Jewish residents in Iceland plus students and business people that are there part time. The community has been growing steadily over the last 7 since Chabad Rabbis have been providing Jewish resources and traveling there to arrange holiday services a few times a year.

Chaim

If you read the Chabad.org article, there are hundreds of local Jews there. I heard from someone who ran Rosh Hashonah there, that there were over 70 people who came for davening. And even if it were only for tourists, so what?

Elimelech

“I cringe when I have seen some people act like a local Chabad House is only there to meet their needs. They didn’t move far from home and dedicate their lives just to make sure that you have kosher food in a far-flung locale and they most certainly deserve appreciation when they do cater to tourists.”

I cringe when religious people are seen by other Chabad members as a nuisance because they have no value to the shliach (as they are already frum).

A Kalte Litvak

We’ve been to many Chabad houses around the world. The dedication of the families is truly inspiring. Our goal is to leave behind lots more than we receive and we have built beautiful friendships accross the globe.

paul

dan can i join you do? assuming your not going with your wife.

paul

“maybe next time we’ll fly one-way nonstop from Cleveland to Iceland and “connect” there to visit my in-laws with a one-way nonstop from Iceland to Kansas City. It sure beats a boring connection in O’Hare ” what do you mean the way back from iceland to kansas dont you need to get back to Cleveland?

Jack out of the box

Maybe he’s planning to go one-way to KC and move in with the in-laws.
😉

Suave

My favorite chabad houses are not really under the chabad.org umbrella.

San Pedro Atitlan, Guatemala
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Bocas del Toro, Panama
Etc.

I also have the habit of bringing suitcases for shluchim (one of which nearly turned into a an international drama) – it can mean the world to a shliachs family stuck far from frum civilization. Everyone should make an effort.

Ewz

Suave, bringing suitcases for people is a beautiful thing, however I’d recommend to really practice extreme caution as you are liable for anything found in there. To make it short, I have a friend who was jailed because he carried a suitcase for someone for a Rabbi to Israel, to have customs find illegal drugs. At times, that person could be doing a favor for person A, who is doing a favor for person B from the congregation, etc. The way I look at it is, if the contents of a package are too private or tznious for me to know what’s in there, then they can kindly use the Post Office down the block to ship their package across the world.

Sandra

Going to Iceland today, for a week. Bringing suitcase of kosher food. Booked Airbnb in Reykjavik for shabbos, the rest of the week self driving to chase Auroras.

HeavenlyJane

Bring a knife, fresh fish is da bomb.

Ted

I very much enjoyed a Shabbos with Chabad of Quito, Ecuador. However, my favorite Chabad house, one to which I owe a tremendous Hakoros Hatov, is the Chabad house at the University of Georgia (Rabbi Michoel Refson and the Rebbetzin Chana). Without having them while I was a student at UGA, my current life may be very different.

Rephael Chaim Simcha Binyomin

Very nice very nice

Kachnik

Yeah, well after being on the first flight from Ben Gurion, I now get a taste of the true WOW experience. They turned a 3 hour connection into a missed flight by deciding the day before the flight to push back the departure for Israelis by 2 hours and BRING forward the connecting flight by an hour so the connecting flight leaves as the incoming flight lands. They took away my paid reserved aisle seat in the front of the plane and put me in a middle seat in the back.WOW. So I can spend 1-4 days waiting for the next flight. Nah, i’d rather be bored at ord then frozen in anti-semite land. Yes, look at twitter, they are giving people the next “available” flight after stranding ALL passengers due to 1-2 days of cancelled flights.

joe blo

aw thats rough i feel for you . also had a bad experiense with wow

NatureLover

Went to Iceland last April… brought tons of food with us and found some kosher cereals and ice cream in Bonus store in Rejk. It was CRAZY weather. And I mean crazy. It’s sunny, and then a second later it gets windy, and another second later it’s a whiteout blizzard. First time in my life where I was davening to Hashem that we simply get to our destination alive. But the nature there was simply incredible. Can’t compare… True epitome of Mah Rabu Maasecha H’. Once in a lifetime adventure.

Ari Joseph

Iceland was a great stopover to Eretz Yisroel. I made a short vlog

https://youtu.be/rRbZeVFwdQY

Yekatrinoslav

thanks Dan, because of you I already had a couple Wow stopovers there, nice ppl! Takk Fyrir! Ekkert mál!

avi

Thank you Dan for posting about all that the chabad shluchim do for us. my wife and i spent an unforgettable shabbos in chabad venice around 12 years ago. i just made a donation on their website.

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