Rabbi leads Broward hospital’s menorah lighting, delivers toys

Sergio Carmona, South Florida Sun Sentinel

Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale hosted its annual Hanukkah menorah lighting with a Chabad rabbi who also delivered new games and toys for pediatric patients.

Physicians, caregivers and team members at Broward Health gathered for the ceremony, which was led by Rabbi Benzion Singer, co-director of Chabad Lauderdale By The Sea. Singer delivered the games and toys for patients receiving care at the medical center’s Salah Foundation Children’s Hospital.

As a Broward Health chaplain, Singer said he goes to the the hospital every year for its annual menorah lighting. He also noted that the Chabad Center annually conducts a toy drive in which people in the community sponsor and donate toys, and then distributes them to the children at the hospital, regardless of who they are.

“We usually come in and wish the children a Happy Hanukkah or a Happy Holiday, and bring a smile to their faces,” Singer said. “It’s really special. It’s something which is heartwarming.”

Singer continued, “Obviously, this year things took on a different shape due to the coronavirus, and unfortunately, our volunteers were not able to come along and to personally distribute toys for the children.”

“However, we were still able to go ahead with the program, collect the toys and deliver them to the hospital, which distributed them to the children,” he said. “We’re grateful for the hospital for allowing us to do that.”

Alison Miransky, a licensed clinical social worker at the medical center, attended the menorah lighting ceremony and shared how the donation of toys by the Chabad center reflects the spirit of the season and community.

“A mitzvah is to do a good deed for others,” Miransky said. “Rabbi Singer’s mitzvah brought Hanukkah to our healthcare hero employees, physician partners, patients and visitors at our hospital. It was a blessing to share this holiday together.”

Miransky also noted, “This is a very different year for all of us.”

“It was wonderful to see our young patients take part in our Hanukkah festivities with games and toys to play with,” she continued.

Miransky said, “It has been a long and challenging year, but for a few brief moments, our work family was able to join together to celebrate, singing songs for the holiday of Hanukkah.”

Singer emphasized the importance of the menorah lighting and the children receiving the toys this year due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“This year, I believe that the message of Hanukkah is, in a sense, more relevant than ever,” he said. “The story of the candles and the lesson of the light overcoming the darkness is so needed during the times we’re living. People now more than ever are searching for that connection, happiness, joy, inspiration and light.”

Singer continued, “Thank God we’re hopefully beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and people gravitate toward that message of achieving, comfort, hope, redemption and light.”

“That’s the beauty of the universal message of Hanukkah,” he added.

Visit jewishlauderdale.com for more information on the Chabad center, and browardhealth.org for the hospital.