The post on the WhatsApp group shared by Chabad reps described the situation: A young dad in some remote town in a province of northern Canada had learned enough to know that he wanted his newborn son to have a brit milah. But bringing a mohel out to this location in the midst of the coronavirus lockdown would add up to $1200–more than this struggling family could manage.
The Chabad rabbi, (who requested anonymity) put out a call to his colleagues.
Fourteen minutes later, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, of Riverdale, NY, saw the post. “My community and I will take care of it.” He hit send, and then sent a message out to his own community. It took less than a minute, he said, for the responses to pour in. “Put me down for $100 Rabbi;” “I can give $18;” “I’m in for $25.” The donations quickly added up. Two hours later the rabbi sent $1300 to Canada, for the newborn’s brit.
The contributors joined the transcontinental brit ceremony via Zoom. One generous donor explained his motivation: “My name is George. I was born in the Former Soviet Union. When I grew up and I learned about my heritage, I wanted to be circumcised. An anonymous donor who didn’t know me, made that possible. This was my chance to pay the kindness forward.”