A couple of days after our arrival in Taiwan, we received the following email:
Hello Chabad rabbis,
My name is Yoni and I live in Tel Aviv, Israel. I am part of a group of 30 men and women who were chosen to come to Taiwan and participate in the World Deaf Basketball Championships. We will be in Taiwan for about ten days. Is there a way we can order kosher meals?We’d never heard of the World Deaf Basketball Championships before, and we marveled at the incredible perseverance and talent of these impressive athletes.
Thank you for reaching out to us. We’ll be happy to help you with kosher food during your stay in Taiwan. Where are you staying?
Yoni quickly replied that the group would be based in Taoyuan, a 50 minute drive from Taipei, which has the largest Jewish population in Taiwan. We spent most of our time there, operating the Chabad House, giving classes, managing the kosher kitchen, and organizing Shabbat meals, trying to fill the shoes of Rabbi Shlomi and Racheli Tabib, Chabad Shluchim to Taiwan who were in Israel for a couple of weeks of much needed family time. We made up with Yoni that he would get in touch with us when he arrived and we would coordinate the delivery of their meals.
Team Israel landed in Taiwan on Thursday, and visited Taipei on Friday. We met Yoni and three other Orthodox players at the Chabad House. We welcomed them warmly and they expressed their gratitude for our help. Before they left, we gave them a few days’ worth of kosher meals, along with challah and wine for Shabbat.
That Tuesday, we decided to attend one of the games to show our support. After an almost two hour train ride, we headed for the massive courts. Aside from the other players, we were the only spectators. We discovered that Team Israel’s morale was pretty low—they’d already had a three game losing streak, and they were at 25-25 in their current game with Japan.
“Let’s go Israel!” We cheered.
“Go Yoni, you can do it!”
“Asaf, Asaf, let’s go!”
Although the athletes couldn’t hear us, they knew we were cheering them on, and they seemed to bring a whole new energy to the game! Israel started taking the lead. At halftime, we went into the locker rooms, to deliver some more kosher meals and encourage the team in person.
In the end, Team Israel won by ten points! We were so excited, we ran onto the court to celebrate the victory with them. There were smiles all around, and they thanked us profusely for the kosher food and our support.
Later, they emailed us:
Shalom Moshe and Yisroel,
Thank you again for coming to the game yesterday! Great to share the sweet victory of Israel with you. We decided that we would like to spread the spirit of Chabad and invite the whole team for Shabbat dinner this week! We would like to order meals for 30 people. Please let us know if this can be done.
What a great idea! Shabbat is certainly the time to include all Jews around the table. We will send a taxi on Friday from Taipei to Taoyuan with everything you will need to make this happen.
We’ll be in touch!
Yisroel and Moshe