Monday, August 27, 2012

Austria: A Gentile running a hotel for Haredim


You could call it a START UP idea: The Austrian non - Jew Stefan Sommerbichler had the idea of launching a hotel for the Jewish Orthodox World only. During the summer months, his hotel is mainly occupied by famous Rabbis such as the Toldot Aharon Rebbe or Rabbi Wosner from Bnei Brak. Before his passing, also the Nadvorna Rebbe (Bnei Brak) used to be a regular guest at Sommerbichler's hotel. However, the hotel also receives non - Jews but does kasher the kitchen before various famous Rebbes arrive for their summer vacation.

The hotel itself is located in Saalbach - Hinterglemm / Austria. It is a family business and after all those years of dealing with Jewish guests, Stefan Sommerbichler himself has learned a lot about Judaism. Moreover, he visited the Toldot Aharon in Mea Shearim where he was invited to their Tish. Furthermore, he claims having some great conversation with the Posek Rabbi Wosner. Sommerbichler was asked many times whether he wants to convert to Judaism but it doesn't seem as if he would be too interested taking this particular final step. 

Last week, the haredi magazine MISHPACHA (English edition) published a long article on Stefan Sommerbichler and his hotel. Here is a shorter version of the article. Short because they, of course, want you to buy the magazine, as I did.:-)

Copyright: Mishpacha

Photos: Miriam Woelke


  1. By final step you mean brit milah? If so, I could understand why. I haven't met anyone who has converted and had to be completely circumcised. I have heard about (converted) Jews, who did get completely circumcised (brit milah) as an adult.


  2. B"H

    I don't know the difference between "circumcised" and "completely circumcised" but, as far as I know, every convert is getting circumcised according to Halacha.

    In this case I simply assume that Stefan Sommerbichler doens't really want to become a Jew with all Mitzvot, obligations and stuff. He likes to have Jewish guests and learn about Jewish issues but this is it.