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Rabbi's Blog

Brotherly love...


As many Jews around the world I have been watching the Israeli election, as an Israeli perhaps a bit closer than others. Following any election could be difficult; following the Israeli election campaigns is disturbing.

The fact that people have different opinions and ideas is great but the rift between one people is painful. It hurts to see the insults and disrespect, the sharp and personal attacks and delegitimization of others... 

I must say that as a former Israeli I believe that this doesn’t reflect the truth of the spirit of the Israelis, our brothers and sister living in our homeland. 

man in 80th2.jpg

Benyamin, a 80 year old man from Petach Tikvah was marking yesterday the Yahrzeit of his late wife, he wanted to go to the cemetery to say Kaddish by her resting place in the Segulah cemetery. His son, Rafi, was concerned that there will not be a Minyan, so he posted on Facebook asking people to come in the middle of the business day to help his father get a Minyan.

When Benyamin arrived, hundreds of people, who never met him, left everything behind and came to be there for him..

Benyamin was crying when he said Kaddish, it wasn’t about the loss of his wife it was about the love of his brothers. This is the real spirit of Israel.

The Jewish Family...

Dear Friends,

On Tuesday, we were at the Jewish Cemetery laying Evgeny Minenberg to rest.  Looking around at the funeral, I witnessed the power of our community.

Evgeny fled the Nazis with his family as a young child, survived very difficult years in Siberia, and ultimately, became a Ship Captain in communist Russia until he immigrated to Canada at the end of the last century.

Evgeny’s life story is no doubt a fascinating one but today I would like to write to you about the beauty of our community and the power each one of us has to have everlasting impact on another life.

Evegeny came to Victoria by himself in his mid 80s, and didn’t manage to make any friends, or to get involved in the community. He was a lone man.

At his funeral people still shed a tear; it was man and woman, volunteers in organizations of kindness in our community.

It was the Light of Shabbat volunteers, who visited him every few weeks and shared with him the joy of Shabbat, and became his friend and assisted him in times of needs. Sharon Fitch, Robert Anderson, Inna Smolov, Baruch Irmin and Igal Yagudaev are just a few of these generous members of our community.

The Jewish Family Services had been there for Evgeny in times of need, and their volunteers helped him receive the funding he deserved as an holocaust survivor, and assisted him in his last days of his life including helping him in making the decision to be buried as a Jew. The JFSVI was led by Fiona Prince and later Beverly Merson, and the volunteers include Michael Friedman who gave many hours of his time to help Evgeny, and Don Morris, who was with him in the last days of his life. 

At the funeral I realized that Evegeny had family in Victoria. It was all of us.

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