THOUGH THE JEWISH community in South Korea is small, Jews visiting the country to compete in or watch the Winter Olympic Games won’t have to skimp on kosher food or Shabbat programming.
The country’s Chabad emissary is setting up a pop-up restaurant in Pyeongchang County, the site of the 2018 Winter Olympics. During the Olympics, which start on February 9, the temporary eatery will serve three meals daily, including Korean-style bulgogi beef, schnitzel, hot dogs and vegetarian items.
Chabad, a Hasidic Orthodox outreach movement that sends emissaries to countries around the world, will also teach Torah classes and put on Shabbat programming for tourists, journalists and other visitors, as well as deliver food to athletes inside the Olympic Village.
“We have big events that we host at Chabad with hundreds of guests, but this is our first time to be able to cater for so many Jews all at once,” Rabbi Osher Litzman, told JTA from Seoul, where he has served as Chabad’s emissary since 2008.
There are about 1,000 Jews living in South Korea, according to Litzman. Most are US service members, English teachers, diplomats or students from the United States or Canada who come to the east Asian country for a year of two.
Litzman and his family host Shabbat dinners at the Chabad house in Seoul, drawing some 40-50 attendees weekly, and High Holidays programming, which attracts over 200 participants. Chabad also operates a kosher store and restaurant in Seoul and ships kosher food all over the country via an online shop.
For Litzman, the Olympics serve as a way to reach more people and expand Chabad’s work in the country.
FULL STORY What it’s like to be Jewish in South Korea (JTA/Times of Israel)