Busy Morning for Mitzvot in Montreal

By Menachem Posner | May 22, 2013 12:15 PM

It was a busy Monday morning in Montreal, as the families of three Chabad emissaries celebrated the circumcisions of their respective sons within hours of each other.

The first to be circumcised on May 20 was Chaim Shneur Zalman Itkin, son of Rabbi Levi and Mushkie Itkin, co-directors of Chabad of Nuns Island, a small island community right outside of Montreal. The ceremony took place at Chabad of Old Port, a center that caters to locals and tourists alike amid the enchanting cobblestone streets and 19th-century homes that make up Montreal’s center.

The second celebration was held at Chabad Queen Mary, where MosheEliezer Fine was welcomed by family and friends. The Chabad center is directed by his grandparents, Rabbi Ronnie and Simcha Fine, and his parents, Rabbi Mendel and Shaina Fine.

Festivities for the third baby boy ensued at the newly rebuilt Jewish Russian Community Center, where Rabbi Chaim and Chanie Brand, co-directors of Chabad of Lasalle, celebrated the circumcision of Mordechai Zev.

In Jewish tradition, eight days after a baby boy is born, he is circumcised and given his Jewish name. The first two circumcisions were done by Rabbi Mendel Altein, a Montreal mohel (trained circumcisor) who has circumcised well over 1,000 babies during his two-decade career. The third circumcision was performed by mohel Rabbi Pesach Sperlin, also director of Chabad of Montreal West.

Since Judaism places importance on doing mitzvahs at the first possible opportunity, all three circumcisions occurred during the morning hours, at the start of the babies’ eighth day of life.

According to Rabbi Leibel Fine, who was at all three events, “it was really nice to see the community coming together for these occasions.” Fine, uncle of baby No. 2 and cousin of baby No. 3, said the fact that Monday was Victoria Day—a public holiday in Canada—meant that the crowds were even bigger than anticipated.