Eighteen Jewish Girls from Tri-State Area Targeted by KLM in Amsterdam

Eighteen Jewish Girls from Tri-State Area Targeted by KLM in Amsterdam

What began as an inspiring, enjoyable summer trip to tourist and attractions and mekomos hakedoshim in Europe, turned into a nightmare at its conclusion for eighteen girls who were traveling in a larger group.

 The group was led by Rebbetzin Sternbuch.

 According to Rabbi Yisroel Kahan, an askan based in Monsey, the girls—hailing from Boro Park, Williamsburg, and Monsey—began being harassed by airline personnel as soon as they got onto the plane which took them from Ukraine to Amsterdam. “They were constantly badgered to put their masks on properly, even as their masks were perfectly affixed,” reported a brother of one of the girls. When the girls ate, they were told that eating is only allowed during designated mealtimes—which is untrue.

 When they disembarked in Amsterdam, the group was barred from getting on the connecting flight to New York, unless they paid the $3000 fine for alleged mask violations.

 Askonim immediately jumped into action, and with the help of elected officials, the airline eventually backed down, and booked the group on Delta Airlines, their sister airline. Among the many askonim who lent a hand during this fraught situation, Reb Moshe Duvid Niederman, Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, and Reb Yoel Rosenfeld worked nonstop until the situation was resolved—ultimately, with the invaluable intervention of Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY).

 The Chabad community in Amsterdam borough food and provisions to the girls, who were waiting in a cordoned-off area of Schipol airport for their connecting flight to New York—returning home from a trip that turned out much longer than expected. 

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