By COLlive reporter
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, known for his great friendship with Canada’s Jewish population and his strong support of the state of Israel, hosted a private Chanukah reception along with his wife Laureen, at his home last week.
The intimate event, held in the Prime Minister’s residence at 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, included 9 Chabad Shluchim and 5 Shluchos among the fifty invited guests.
In attendance were Rabbi Zalman Grossbaum, Head Shliach to Ontario, Rabbi Yitzchok Wineberg, Head Shliach to British Columbia, Rabbi Berel Mochkin, Head Shliach to Quebec, Rabbi Menachem Matusof, Head Shliach to Alberta, Rabbi Avraham Altein, Head Shliach to Manitoba, Rabbi Chaim Mendelsohn, Shliach in Ottawa, Rabbi Mendel Kaplan, Shliach in Thornhill, Rabbi Rafi Katz, new Shliach in Saskatchewan, and Rabbi Shmuly Hecht, new Shliach in Kelowna, BC.
Shluchos in attendance were Mrs. Esther Grossbaum, Mrs. Henya Wineberg, Mrs. Sima Mochkin, Mrs. Rochel Matusof and Mrs. Bassie Mendelsohn.
Harper mentioned that the historic event was “the first time a Prime Ministers’ home has ever been opened for a Chanukah celebration.”
The Prime Minister also recalled a previous year’s Chanukah party he attended at the Matusof home, and said he was glad this time he could open his home to them.
The Chanukah party and Menorah lighting was coordinated by the Canadian Federation of Chabad Lubavitch, who was responsible for the Kashrus of the food served as well.
During the ceremony Rabbi Mendelsohn welcomed the guests, and addresses were given by Rabbi Reuven Bulka in English and Rabbi Menachem Matusof in French.
Rabbi Altein was joined by the Prime Minister for the lighting of the Menorah.
Other notables in attendance were Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney, Senator Linda Frum, Scott Reid MP and Miriam Ziv, the Israeli Ambassador to Canada.
“It was truly an incredible, inspiring event,” Rabbi Chaim Mendelsohn, who worked closely with the Prime Minister’s staff to plan the event, told COLlive.com.
“Prime Minister Harper is a dear friend of the Jewish community, and in the truest sense he is the greatest supporter of Israel and Jewish causes of all of today’s world leaders.”