Lending a hand before a holiday seems like the right thing to do. Honoring an agency that offers such help also seems natural.

On March 9 in Moscow’s Jewish Museum, hundreds gathered to salute and support Keren Chaya Mushka, the central free loan society of Russia. Loans are given free of interest and can be paid back in monthly installments; this not only helps financially, but also boosts the borrower’s morale.

“I am impressed with the amount of kindness that is done discreetly and with great success for the Jewish community in Russia,” said Rabbi Don Yoel Levy, director of OK Kosher Laboratories.

Levy recalled how for many years his father, Rabbi Berel Levy, came to the Soviet Union dressed as a tourist on behalf the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory. These missions included bringing physical and spiritual assistance to Jewish people who could otherwise not receive such aid.

The chief Rabbi of Russia, Rabbi Berel Lazar, talked of the importance of supporting the loan society – an agency marked by books that are “clean and organized,” as well as “the respect given to those who need the financial assistance.”

The loan society is headed by Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Shie Deitch.

The crowd, entertained that evening by clarinetist Chilik Frank, received a Russian translation of a work by Rabbi Yisrael Meir Poupko, popularly known by the name of his volume on Jewish ethics, the Chofetz Chaim, on doing deeds of kindness.