I was very disappointed, hurt and surprised, and I again reproved Rabbi Shemtov. I had made myself look very foolish. People were talking about the £35 American flight that would never leave the ground! Suddenly, like an inspiration, Rabbi Shemtov had another great idea: why bother with travel agents, let's contact the Airlines directly.

“We have passengers, money and the organization. Kling up der 'Flying Tiger,' Phone them now, at once.”

I called the Flying Tiger Airlines. Yes, they did charter planes to New York, but for the next year they were fully booked. “Ah, no - just a moment - we do have a cancellation for our July 4th flight.” A quick glance at the calendar confirmed that it was not a Shabbos or Yom Tov, but it would be during the “three weeks” and “nine days.” (This time period corresponds to a period of Jewish national mourning, when the Romans besieged Jerusalem, culminating with the Temple being destroyed in the year 69 c.e.) Rabbi Shemtov hissed into my ear “Nem doss, nem doss” (take it, take it). So I took doss.

I was a little troubled about visiting the Rebbe on these depressing days and not on a Yom Tov; but Rabbi Shemtov explained and made it very clear that, when one sees the Rebbe, sadness becomes gladness and a weekday becomes a Yom Tov. I immediately publicized to all our Lubavitcher friends and supporters the exact times and dates and other particulars.

Of the original 120 applicants 60 had to drop out right away, being that one thing or another didn't suit them.

By the middle of June we had our full complement of 118 passengers, and a waiting list of over twenty. (One of these later offered to travel in the washroom and pay full fare. One woman wished to go one way only to New York; she had received an offer of £40 for her return journey, we told her “which way she could go.”)

We of course wanted Rabbi Shemtov to accompany us on this unique occasion. He desired this too; however he was afraid to ask permission of the Rebbe, lest he receive a rebuff for even asking. So I figured I'd ask for him. The Rebbe's reply came as a postscript added on to a letter to me, dated Rosh Chodesh Sivan, 5721 (May 16, 1961):

...in which you write about your desire and suggestion that Rabbi Shemtov join and lead the group visit. Now, although it is my custom in such a case to hear also directly from the party concerned, but in view of the importance and urgency of the request, I will make an exception. My reply is that the suggestion is a very good one, unless there are some compelling reasons to the contrary. May I add that I am gratified to note that Rabbi Shemtov's work and leadership in the Lubavitch affairs in England is so well appreciated.