Lufthansa Meets With Jewish Officials in NJ Following Banning Incident

By Reuvain Borchardt

Clockwise from front left: Yossi Gestetner, Meyer Tauber, Frank Naeve, Tal Mucal, David Rosenberg

Lufthansa officials met Thursday with Orthodox Jewish activists to discuss the recent incident in which Orthodox Jews were banned from a flight, the latest in a series of meetings Lufthansa has held with members of the Orthodox community.

Frank Naeve, Lufthansa’s vice president of sales in the Americas, and Tal Muscal, director of communications for the Lufthsana Group in America, met Thursday in New Jersey with David Rosenberg of the New Jersey Jewish Business Alliance; as well as Yossi Gestetner of the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council, and businessman and activist Meyer Tauber, both of Rockland County.

In the May 4 incident, over 100 Orthodox Jews were banned from a connecting flight because allegedly a small number had not complied with mask guidelines.

The company has suspended several employees involved in the incident (though, per German labor laws, the employees are paid during their suspension) pending a review of the incident by an outside law firm, which is expected to be completed during the coming weeks.

 Participants who spoke with Hamodia following Thursday’s meeting described it positively.

“The Lufthansa officials were very well-versed in all aspects of the incident, the investigation, the review, the effort that the company is undertaking in terms of employee training, employee policy, as well as structural adjustments to ensure that in case somewhere along the chain there is a breakdown, there should be circuit breakers to mitigate the problem, rather than to let it spiral out of control, as occurred on May 4,” Gestetner said. “The steps being undertaken by Lufthansa appear to be very encouraging and not just the typical half-hearted response from a corporation. However, I am mindful that the only people who ultimately have a right to say whether Lufthansa has adequately addressed this egregious incident, are those who were directly impacted.”

Approximately 100 of the banned passengers are joining for a lawsuit against Lufthansa, in which they will be represented by attorney Mark Goldfeder of the American Center for Law and Justice, a pro-religious-liberties law firm.

Muscal said, “We believe today’s meeting was a positive step, and we look forward to further expanding our relationship with business leaders from the Orthodox Jewish community,”

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