A 90-year-old Haredi woman from Bnei Brak was diagnosed with the coronavirus just before the last day of Passover, and on Tuesday afternoon was brought to a quarantine hotel in Tel Aviv. Minutes before the holiday began, she realized that she did not have any holiday candles and that the hotel, too, was all out of candles. The woman began to cry, seeing as this was going to be her first time missing the candle lighting mitzvah in more than 70 years.
She called her family in Bnei Brak for help, but Bnei Brak was under a lockdown, and no one would have been to leave town, much less enter the quarantine hotel. The family contacted United Hatzalah’s humanitarian dispatch center, set up together with Lev Echad and the Israel Association of Community Centers to assist distressed coronavirus patients.
The dispatch center put out the call to all local EMT volunteers, and a Muslim volunteer from Jaffa, Ebrahim Ayuty, 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 a package of tealight candles. He then raced over to the hotel and brought the candles to the staff who delivered it to the woman. She was able to carry on her tradition of lighting candles, and sent her thanks to Ebrahim and to the three organizations that set up the humanitarian hotline.
“I am thankful that I was able to help,” Ebrahim said. “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.”