Right before the start of Shavuot, on May 14, Israel’s chief rabbis, the British ambassador to Israel, airline employees and others took part in an event to mark the completion of the writing of the El Al Torah Scroll for the Unity of Israel.
El Al CEO Elyezer Shkedy, who initiated the writing of the Torah Scroll, said the project was motivated by a desire to help strengthen ties between the Jewish population in Israel and around the world.
Shkedy told a group of journalists about this Torah during the American Jewish Press Association’s press tour in January and I was fortunate enough to “write” a letter in this Torah (through a scribe, of course) during an El Al-sponsored dinner at a Tel Aviv restaurant. I feel like I was in very good company, as thousands of people have inscribed a letter in the Torah Scroll for the past three years — including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s President Shimon Peres and Noble Prize winner Eli Weisel. In Washington, D.C., this past December, the sefer Torah was signed by several U.S. senators and members of Congress, including Joe Lieberman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Eric Cantor. At the United Nations, Israel’s Ambassador Ron Prosor added a letter to the Torah.
The Torah scroll, which contains 304,805 letters in 249 columns, will be kept in the synagogue on the El Al campus at Ben Gurion International Airport, according to a press release, and will accompany Israeli leaders on flights of national and historic significance.
Are you still snacking on leftover hamantaschen?
I imagine pro-eater Jamie “The Bear” McDonald probably had his share this year. He is the winner of El Al Israel Airlines’ second annual National Hamantaschen Eating Championship, held in New York City on Feb 24. McDonald set a new hamantaschen-eating record by consuming 48 hamantaschen in five minutes.
Hundreds gathered at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun (KJ) Synagogue to watch 20 amateur contestants devour dozens of hamantaschen for the chance to beat professional eating sensation, Jamie “The Bear” McDonald, and win a free flight to Israel, according to an El Al press release.Nathaniel Siev took first place among the 20 amateur contestants by devouring 34.5 hamantaschen and Dimitri “The Ukraine Train” Shchupak consumed a total of 33 hamantaschen, each winning a roundtrip ticket to Israel. Third and fourth place runner-ups, Kevin Sloan and Jake Zak, both received a $500 voucher toward their next flight to Israel for eating 24 hamantaschen each.