Cusco, Peru, located 11,000 feet above sea level, is known as the Tel Aviv of South America. Thousands of Israeli backpackers visit each year, and Hebrew is the city’s unofficial language. Chabad emissaries Ofer and Yael Kripor tend to the spiritual and physical needs of the Israelis. A large part of their work is operating three restaurants, which are open around the clock, and serve traditional Israeli cuisine, as well as the opportunity to put on tefillin and hear a Torah thought.
Passover is Chabad’s biggest event. With over a thousand attendees, a combination of locals and tourists, it is one of the largest Seders in the world, and requires intense preparation. The Kripors hired 25 staff members, recruited a small army of volunteers, and two weeks before the Seder, roving rabbis Mendy Harlig, Ephraim Merovitch, Meir Shemtov, Avremy Piekarski, Lazer Gajer, Shneur Zalman Ushki, and Nissim Ben Harroush arrived in Cusco.
When they weren’t working in the kitchen, they helped register the Seder guests. Because there wasn’t a venue large enough to hold the crowd, two Seders were held consecutively, and everyone received either a blue or yellow wristband corresponding to the different times.
Present at the Seder was MK Elazar Stern, who wrote the following on his Facebook page: “The Seder night in Cusco, Peru, was an uplifting experience. Hundreds of Israelis traveling in South America look forward to this evening, to experience a Jewish experience, thanks to the Chabad emissaries…”