Hassidim are flying
Between September 6-19, 12,000 hassidim will fly on 160 flights for the traditional holiday pilgrimage to Uman, Ukraine, where the essence will be the Rosh Hashana prayers on the grave of the righteous Rebbe Nachman of Breslov.
The airport authority, under the framework of preparations for Operation Flying Train to Uman, will provide special services to the hassidic passengers, including separate and organized check-in, security checks, border inspections, allocating clearly marked counters and transporting food for the duration of the trip as accompanying cargo.
Ben-Gurion’s preparations for Operation Uman is in conjunction with the different bodies organizing the trip, the hassidic representatives, travel agents, air lines, ground control services, the Ukrainian embassy in Israel, baggage control, and different divisions at Ben-Gurion airport headed by the security division, customer service, the management division and the maintenance division.
Who will come with Madonna?
Conversely, around 3,000 believers from 22 countries will land in Israel for the World Conference of the International Kabbalah Center, which will take place September 12-22. Among the people coming for the conference are Madonna (Esther), who celebrated her 49th birthday last month, and apparently also Demi Moore, her husband Ashton Kutcher and the fashion designer Donna Karan.
During the conference, the kabbalists will travel to a number of major sites in Israel: Jerusalem (Tunnel tours), the Dead Sea (including a tour of Masada and the audio-visual presentation), and Galilee (visiting rabbis' graves in Tiberias and Safed). The participants will be staying at the David Intercontinental hotel, the Dan Panorama, the Crown Plaza Tel Aviv, and the Gai Beach hotel in Tiberias.
Chaya Melech from International, the group organizing arrangements for the conference, said that there are double the number of participants this year than at the conference in Israel three years ago.