A Beach tradition: Christmas and Hanukkah

We have in the Beach two religions which may be different in many ways. They are, however, also similar: they both believe in a God, and they both believe in helping others.

Please keep in mind that I am not an expert on either the Jewish or Christian faiths. My interest is strictly in the humanitarian and charitable way in which both religions are great believers in doing good for their fellow man and woman.

We in the Beach have a great opportunity to help everybody, regardless of colour, creed, nationality or religion.

The Beach Hebrew Institute, also known as the Beach Synagogue, has been around almost 100 years. In that time, its members have helped the community in many ways.

In this article I will mention one who has devoted a great part of his life to help the people of the Beach – Arie Nerman. On the Christian side is another person who has devoted much of his life to the same cause – Bob Murdoch.

Let me add a disclaimer here: I don’t know how much faith these two have, that is their business, not mine. However I do know that both have worked tirelessly for decades to help the elderly, the less fortunate, the handicapped and the young to have a better life – I have seen their dedication to the Beach for over 30 years.

Their deeds speak for themselves, and the people they have helped and are still helping know these two for the great work they are doing. Nerman has, with members of the synagogue, spent hundreds of hours feeding people for 15 years. In good health or poor, he perseveres.

How many times has he spoken to people with advice and kindness? How many of the less fortunate owe so much to him? He has helped out during historical events – he is one of the people responsible for keeping the Beach sign as it is today. Without him, we in the Beach would be a sorry lot.

Just a couple of the honours bestowed by politicians and the community: Citizen of the Year and the Queen’s Jubilee medal. These are great tributes, but his greatest tribute is his devotion to his religion and the less fortunate of the Beach.

Murdoch is another who, in my estimation, like Arie, is the best example of people helping people. Bob’s true faith lies in helping people. While at Community Centre 55, he set up many years ago the Share A Christmas program, which this year will help 830 families in the East End who don’t have much.

Murdoch has helped out with sports activities, along with his wife and family. He has championed the prostate cancer research cause. He has helped with veterans, with the 9/11 memorial – there is so much I can write about these two, but I will cut it short.

These two are rocks of charity and faith that the Beach is built on, and the people of the Beach should be proud to know and have these two around. Bob and Arie will be judged by history as among the best examples of citizens of the Beach.

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