When CJAD, Montreal’s premier English-language news talk station, asked listeners to vote for their three favorite Montrealers of 2015, the first two choices came as no surprise: Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre and ice-hockey star P. K. Subban. The third winner, however, was not as obvious: It was none other than Rabbi Ronnie Fine, who has been a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary to the city since 1981.

After 18 years as a chaplain and Chabad emissary at McGill University, the rabbi and his wife, Simcha, founded Chabad Queen Mary in 1999, a homey community center that serves the many couples, families and singles and others living around the Queen Mary Boulevard in the urban Côte des Neiges neighborhood.

Among the rabbi’s most known contributions is the founding of Chabad Lifeline, which offers support, counseling and recovery options to addicts and their families in a nonjudgemental and healing environment.

Located in a bright and cheery home right next to Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital, it runs 20 support group sessions and workshops a week, where people can find relief and healing from addictions and destructive behaviors that affect them and their families.

The rabbi is also well-known for his ongoing flow of classes on Jewish texts, some streamed on Jewish.tv for attendees from across the globe.

Appearing on the Aaron Rand show hosted by Dan Delmar, the rabbi discussed the inspirations in his life, especially the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—as well as advice for addicts and their families, such as keeping open communication and seeking guidance.

Rabbi Fine and family at a recent wedding
Rabbi Fine and family at a recent wedding

He also shared that Chabad Queen Mary would soon join with Congregation Zichron Kedoshim, a venerable congregation around the corner from Chabad that had been dedicated in memory of martyrs of Ukrainian pogroms, and later, the Holocaust.

“I represent much more than I am as an individual,” said the rabbi, who seemed rather amazed that he was chosen in the first place, and repeatedly expressed appreciation for his wife, his 10 children, his staff and his congregants.

In the following radio broadcast, Fine discusses the award.