Canadian Prime Minister, Friend of Chabad, Dies

Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, a friend of Chabad who the Rebbe recommended gifting a siddur and who spoke at Chanukah Live in 5751, died at 84.

By reporter

Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who held close ties with shluchim and spoke at Chanukah Live in 5751, died at 84.

Mulroney served as Canada’s prime minister from 1984 through 1993, and worked with former US President Ronald Reagan.

The Prime Minister was very supportive of the shluchim and signed a special proclamation in honor of the Rebbe’s 85th birthday. At Chanukah Live 5751, the Prime Minister spoke and his words were broadcast before the Rebbe.

During the Rebbe’s effort to include a “Moment of Silence” each morning in public schools, he urged that public officials, from all levels of government, should recognize the importance of this endeavor through official proclamations and the like.

In 5747 (1987), Rabbi Zalman Aaron Grossbaum, head shliach to Ontario, Canada, arranged a meeting with the Prime Minister. His plan was to gift him a large silver kiddush cup, a kos shel Eliyahu, and to explain to him that every person, especially someone in a position of leadership, has the responsibility to bring holiness into his environment—to transform the world to kedusha.

The day before their meeting he wrote a letter to the Rebbe detailing his plans. That night, he received a call from the Rebbe’s mazkirus. On his letter, the Rebbe had circled the words “kiddush cup,” and wrote a question mark and exclamation mark—“?!”

“What’s he going to do with it?” the Rebbe wrote. “On the other hand, [if you give him] a siddur, in an English version (wrapped up in a box within a box), [then he will have use for it] because many prayers, starting from the beginning, Modeh Ani, are relevant to a ben Noach as well.”

Rabbi Grossbaum relates:

“So here we are, sitting there. It’s ten o’clock at night, and our kiddush cup on the table, all wrapped and engraved, is history now. We have to get a leather-bound English siddur in a beautiful jacket, and then have it in another box to present it to him.

“We presented him with this siddur and told him exactly what the Rebbe said. Ever since then, with every single Prime Minister in office, when we meet with them we bring an English siddur, and they acknowledge how meaningful it is to recognize every day that there is a Creator who has restored our soul, giving us a new force of energy to go forward another day.”


The Prime Minister speaking at Chanukah Live:

YouTube player

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