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A B’nai Brith Hanukkah Mitzvah

Volunteers with BBYO and Diller Teen Fellows pose with Harvey Levine

By Harvey Levine
Regional Director, Quebec
B’nai Brith Canada

As we have every year  for the past four decades, on each night of Hanukkah volunteers and staff members with B’nai Brith Canada arrived at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal to light the menorah alongside bed-ridden patients.

This past Monday evening there was a bitter ice storm in the city, but in spite of extremely slippery driving conditions, a few dedicated volunteers still managed to track their way to the hospital to fill this beautiful mitzvah.

On our way there, the event’s co-chair Yaacov Bauer and I discovered that the car in front of us was hopelessly stuck on ice and in danger of sliding into another car. Without hesitation, we came to the rescue of a young lady in distress and – along with several Christmas party-goers who joined us – managed to push her car out of harm’s way.

We all smiled at one another and shook hands, exchanging greetings of “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukkah,” before we continued on our way to hospital for the night’s candle-lighting event where we met members of BBYO and Diller Teen Fellows. As always, watching the look of delight on the faces of patients who are otherwise unable to celebrate Hanukkah was an incredibly moving experience.

Yaacov Bauer and Harvey Levine
We left that night feeling like we had accomplished something worthwhile. And coming together with those Christmas party-goers felt like it encompassed the spirit of the holidays, showing that no matter what you celebrate, it’s always the right thing to perform a mitzvah and help out people in need.

And after all, that is the B’nai Brith way.