The Flight of the Righteous Gentile

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It’s not often that a Hasidic rabbi’s Facebook post goes viral but that’s what happened Wednesday when Rabbi Zalmen Wishedsk uploaded a photo that showed him smiling next to a man he identified as “Roland,” his neighbor in the window seat on a flight from Switzerland to Israel.

The rabbi’s post, written in Hebrew, described his seatmate as a 54-year-old German house painter flying to Israel to volunteer renovating the homes of Holocaust survivors. In a follow-up conversation with Tablet, Wishedsk said that Roland would be spending four weeks in Israel and had been volunteering there for the past five years. The story started to spread across social media after the rabbi’s post but really took off when an English translation was tweeted out by Emanuel Miller, whose Twitter bio says he is a political analyst and former journalist.

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