Remember the Shabbat day and keep it holy. Exodus 20:8 (The Israel Bible™)
Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Executive Vice President of American Friends of Lubavitch and the Chabad movement’s representative to Washington, DC, was invited for a special event at the White House on Friday reports Collive.
At the event, President Donald Trump was set to sign the ‘Securing American Nonprofit Organizations Against Terrorism’ Act of 2019. The bill provides federal funding for the protection of houses of worship and other nonprofits. The act effectively authorizes $375 million in funding to secure synagogues, Mosques as well as other religious institutions.
Unfortunately, Rabbi Shemtov couldn’t accept the invitation as the ceremony, according to it’s schedule, would have likely run into the holy Shabat (Sabbath) which started at 5:02 pm. He was therefore compelled to decline the invitation.
But approximately one hour later, the White House contacted Rabbi Shemtov letting him know that they decided to move the event back by roughly one hour. This schedule change allowed him as well as two other orthodox Jews to attend the event, ensuring that they’d be able t make it home in time for the candle lighting ceremony, which begins as soon as the Sabbath comes in.
Along with Rabbi Shemtov, other orthodox attendees included Howard Friedman, Chairman of the Orthodox Union, who was in Washington for Shabat, as well as Eric Fingerhut, head of the Jewish Federations of North America, who also lives in D.C.
Rabbi Shemtov then graciously accepted the original invitation as the new timing meant that the event was now scheduled to finish at 5 pm. That provided him ample time to make it home by car, or, he could walk the roughly 1.5 miles to his residence in the Chabad Lubavitch Center of Washington, if need be.
Holding true to their word, the event was over at 5 pm. The White House staff then whisked the Jewish community leaders through the security gates so that they could speedily exit the complex and return home before the Sabbath. They did so and even enjoyed a few minutes to spare.
Congregants arriving at Rabbi Shemtov’s synagogue were surprised to see their spiritual leader make it just before Shabat, in time to lead his congregation in Mincha (afternoon) prayers.