A 90-year-old haredi woman from Bnei Brak was diagnosed with Covid-19 Coronavirus just before the last day of Pesach. On Tuesday afternoon she was brought to the hotel in Tel Aviv set aside for those diagnosed with Corona and remained in quarantine there. Minutes before the holiday began, she realized that she did not have any candles to light for the onset of the holiday and the hotel was all out of candles. The woman was brought to tears as she thought that she would not be able to light candles for the first time in more than 70 years.

The woman called her family to see if there was anything they could do, but they were located in Bnei Brak, a city under lockdown, and no one was allowed to enter the quarantine hotel aside from medical staff. The family contacted United Hatzalah’s humanitarian dispatch center that was set up together with Lev Echad and the Israel Association of Community Centers to assist those who are unable to obtain basic humanitarian supplies due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus and asked for help. 

The dispatch center put out the call to all local volunteers. Muslim volunteer from Jaffa, Ebrahim Ayuty, received the alert and responded to the call. He hopped on his ambucycle and rushed over to a local store owned by a Muslim friend of his that was still open and purchased some candles. He then raced over to the hotel and brought the candles to the staff who delivered it to the woman. The woman from Bnei Brak was able to carry on her unbroken tradition of lighting candles and focus on recovering thanks to the selfless effort of Ebrahim and the three organizations that set up the humanitarian hotline.  

“I am thankful that I was able to help,” Ebrahim said following the incident. “I volunteer with United Hatzalah so that I can help people, no matter who they are or what they need. Normally, I respond to medical emergencies, but since the onset of the Coronavirus in Israel, the lives of so many people have been turned upside down. It is a gift to be able to help people bring back a little bit of normalcy during this epidemic. Helping  someone keep an age-old tradition alive is incredibly important to that person and therefore it is important to me as well.”

© 2020 American Jewish Congress.