Chanucah surprises


A charity will be lighting up the faces of young and old this Chanucah by visiting care homes and hospitals with presents and menorahs galore.

Israeli welfare charity Yad Ezra, known in the UK as Helping Hand, has made more than 3,200 care packages to give out during Chanucah parties for anyone who can't be at home for the festival.

Efrayim Goldstein, who is the charity's London co-ordinator, said he was motivated to join the organisation because festivals "are the times of year when everyone should be able to celebrate in full swing".

Mr Goldstein, a Stamford Hill native who was also recently made an observer on the Board of Deputies, said: "We help out people in hospitals, in care or mental institutions, and we give doughnuts to both Jewish and non-Jewish patients. We throw a Chanucah party with a menorah, candles and blessings in English and Hebrew.

"We also bring battery-run menorahs for patients in hospital so they can have it right next to the bed, and presents too - for the elderly, books and mini tablets which are donated. We gave out 60 mini tablets last year. For young children, we have toys and colouring books.

"It's a surprise, and everyone gets something different. We cheer them up, and we're very proud of that."

The operation is volunteer-led, with 130 people from every facet of the Jewish community having already signed up to help. With 400 electric menorahs at the ready, Mr Goldstein expects this to be the charity's best ever year.

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