Wednesday, March 07, 2012

David Morris - Hero

David Morris (pictured) is a hero. 10 years ago he founded a charity organization called Lema’an Achai. This organization is one that is supported by prominent Ramat Bet Shemesh resident, Rabbi Chaim Soloveichik, (Rav Ahron Soloveichik’s youngest son). It is a valuable resource that according to a Jewish Press article “(applies) innovative methods to empowering poor residents.”

He is also the executive director of Magen - a new organization there that combats sex molestation.

David is a hero not only for devoting so much of his time to Tzorchei Tzibur (community needs). He is a hero for doing so under great pressure from Charedi rabbinic leaders in his city who have resisted him.

He has in effect been ostracized by them and his charity virtually banned. If I understand correctly - the rabbis are upset that David exposed a suspected child sex abuser against their wishes.

I am not making any judgments about that case. I wasn’t there. I don’t know the details. But based on what David has done for his community so far in his very young life - I have to believe that everything he does is L’Shem Shomayim. To place this fine young man and his Tzedaka in Cherem seems to me to be a great injustice. (It should be noted that David - to his great credit - has not responded in kind to personal attacks by these rabbis and continues to show them respect.)

Not only is it a personal injustice for David, but is completely unjust to the recipients of his Tzedaka. It also casts a shadow on his new organization. One that is designed to protect all the children of the city. Including the children of those rabbis. From the Jewish Press:

As much as 95% of all reports made to Magen were from families describing themselves as Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox).

Magen operates within the framework of halacha, the Law and best professional practice,” states Morris. “We are pleased that Magen is already trusted by members of the public, and by the Hareidi community in particular, with these most sensitive & important matters – and we admire the courage of parents who are increasingly open to improving the safety of their children, and to responsibly addressing this risk in our community.”

In my view the community of Ramat Bet Shemesh should rise up and support this young man. This means giving the bulk of your charity dollars specifically to Lema’an Achai. The recipients are your Aniyei Ircha the poor of your city. Chazal tell us Aniyei Ircha Kodman – the poor of your own city come first.

If your Shul doesn’t have one of their Pushkas (charity boxes) tell the Shul leadership to get one. Insist on it! It is the right thing to do.

Lema’an Achai means ‘for the sake of your brothers’. They do not discriminate. If someone in that community is in need, whether, Charedi, Dati Leumi, or Chiloni, Lema’an Achai does not hesitate to help them. Neither should you. Whether Dati Leumi, Chiloni or Charedi Lema’an Achai deserves your support. Don’t let controversy get in the way of doing the right thing!