Chabad of Milan sprang into action last weekend, when thousands of Israelis poured into their city as spectators of the European basketball championships.
A Shabbat dinner was held for some 600 fans at the Hotel Melia, where kipot in the signature colors of the Maccabi Tel Aviv team were distributed, along with specially printed booklets for prayers and traditional Jewish songs.
The activities were coordinated by Rabbi Levi Hazan, youth director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Milan, and Rabbi Sender Wilschansky of Beit Chabad-Milan Jewish Center, in collaboration with Rabbi Yaakov Gloiberman from Israel, who accompanied the team.
This was all possible, organizers said, because the team insisted that the semifinal game be held on Friday afternoon, to allow enough time to finish the game before the onset of Shabbat.
On Saturday, hundreds of fans attended services at several Milan synagogues, followed by a group Shabbat meal at the hall of the Beit Chana Seminary. Chabad emissaries and volunteers in Milan were mobilized to wrap tefillin with hundreds of fans before both games—the semifinal on Friday and Sunday’s final, when Maccabi Tel Aviv won its sixth Euroleague championship.