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Nepal Virtual Jewish History Tour

[By: Ariel Scheib]

While the permanent Jewish community in Nepal is very small, Chabad emissaries and Jewish diplomatic officials live and work in the country. Nepal established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1960.

The “Seder on Top of the World” is one of the largest known Passover Seders in the world, held annually in Kathmandu, Nepal. This tradition began in the mid 1990s amongst Jewish travelers. Lubavitch rabbis are dispatched every year to the main Chabad house in Kathmandu, Nepal to prepare for the arrival of thousands of Jewish backpackers. They bring with them hundreds of pounds of kosher matzah, food and Haggadahs (Seder prayer book) to provide for an army of Jews. Jews arrive from all over the world; including Israel, America, Australia, and Europe to trek up the Himalayas for Passover. Many of the Jews that come for the Passover Seder are not Orthodox, but are in search of a unique religious experience. The Seder is held in an enormous army tent pitched in front of the Israeli embassy. In 2006, nearly 1,500 Israelis celebrated Passover in Kathmandu, ignoring travel warnings concerning political turbulence in the region. In 2007, Rabbi Yechezkel Lifshitz announced the opening of a second Chabad house in the city of Pokhara, designed to be a source of Jewish life and traditions for travelers in that region of Nepal.

In mid-2012, Israeli medical students donated a collection of books from the Medical School for International Health (Soroka University Medical Center), Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheba. The books were delivered from Israel to Dr. Rajesh Gangol, Deal of the Patan Academy for the Health Sciences at the Patan Hospital in Nepal. There has been continuing cooperation and knowledge exchange between professional staff in Israel and Nepal in recent years.

Chabad House of Kathmandu
P.O. Box 1844 Thamel
Kathmandu, Nepal
Phone: 977-1-470-0492
Mrs. Chani Lifshitz
Rabbi Yechezkel Lifshitz

Chabad house in the city of Pokhara
Opposite Tropikana Hotel Lake Side
Pokhara, Nepal
Rabbi Yechezkel Lifshitz, Remote Director

Sources: “Largest Seder in the World”
“Nepal: 1,500 Israelis take part in Seder,” YNet News
"Israeli medical students donate books to Patan Academy for the Health Science," Nepal News, July 6, 2012.