Does Lema'an Achai Still Exist?





Jews have a long collective memory, remembering incidents and events for even thousands of years - but sometimes we forget what happened yesterday – and certainly the events of two years ago.

Yesterday, someone asked "does Lema'an Achai exist still? I don't see them around…"

The person who asked belongs to BTYA a major anglo-chareidi kehillah/community in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

BTYA's rabbi officially banned Lema'an Achai, the world-renowned RBS tzedaka & chesed organization, from fundraising in his shul, over two years ago.

Immersed within that specific community, from which the name & presence of Lema'an Achai has been officially wiped out for two years - even when community members continue to receive the organization's help every day - it is not surprising this person reckoned Lema'an Achai itself had been obliterated.

Such is the inestimable power of communal forgetfulness.

The ban/cherem at BTYA remains to this day, but the reason for it has been forgotten. Even the ban/cherem itself is no longer remembered – and just a blurred absence remains. Posters about Lema'an Achai are taken down. Lema'an Achai flyers are quietly removed from the shul. Collecting boxes have 'disappeared', including their contents. Another organization has inherited the "Official Annual Appeal" slot from the pulpit. And this cherem has been personally directed by the Rabbi.

Veteran members still remember Lema'an Achai and are appreciative of the valuable work performed by the organization. Many veterans still quietly & generously donate and volunteer for the organization.

However, BTYA's more recently recruited members can be excused for assuming Lema'an Achai doesn't exist, or the organization has simply closed its doors.... 

So, the time has come to remind the public – WHY Lema'an Achai was and still is banned from BTYA.

The reason is two words:

"CHILD ABUSE".

Two years ago, following a series of mishandled cases of alleged child abuse in RBS, which I personally witnessed, I took a strong stand for more effective child protection, and I spoke out against the 'traditional' and discredited methods ("shittas") that have been used to "deal with" cases of child abuse in our community – as I hold that these methods are illegal, irresponsible and dangerous to our children.

During this time, the Jerusalem Post called me to tell me they had been contacted by parents of abused children from RBS, and the reporter asked me to comment on the phenomenon of child abuse in RBS. I consulted with my rav, and then I spoke with the reporter. You are welcome to see the resulting article.

Explicitly as his response to my quotation in that JPost article, Rav Malinowitz placed an immediate ban/cherem on Lema'an Achai, preventing Lema'an Achai from fundraising in BTYA.

Rav Malinowitz apparently holds that banning the Lema'an Achai tzedaka organization, which also helps members of BTYA, is an appropriate and mature response to his disagreement with me about child safety.

The real victims of Rav Malinowitz's Cherem on Lema'an Achai are the impoverished families of RBS, who come to Lema'an Achai for critical assistance and there are now less resources to help them.

These needy families are certainly not a party in this machlokes between Rav Malinowitz and me about child abuse.

I would also like to add that, two years later, Lema'an Achai itself is actually no longer even dealing directly with cases of child abuse; B"H, a new and effective organization now exists in Bet Shemesh/RBS which specializes in this.

I therefore hereby offer Rav Malinowitz a trade.

If BTYA will agree to remove the cherem on the two hundred needy families of Lema'an Achai, then I am willing to be cheremed personally by the shul, for my opinions and activities for child protection.

This seems a lot fairer.

And I am even willing to work with Rav Malinowitz to design a range of particularly ugly B/W pashkevilim for the Rav himself to sign and hang up in the shul.

Right alongside the sign in the BTYA foyer which says:

Our Mission

To maintain and expand an open and tolerant קהילה 


Woops. Perhaps the pashkeville should be placed over that.

-----------

How BTYA Members Can Still Quietly Donate to Lema'an Achai:

By Phone 24/6: 02-99999.33
Mail A Check: Lema'an Achai, 40/7 Nahal Lachish, Ramat Beit Shemesh.


Comments

  1. This is an outrageous story. I'm distressed and astounded.

    David - kol hakavod for all you do for our community, and in particular for our kids.

    Shame on those who attack you and Lema'an Achai for it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We still love you.Everyday we remember that you are working hard for the needy and we are all very thankfull to you and your family to avraham and the whole lemaan achai staff for all you are doing.but more important is that זוכר כל הנשכחות remembers and he will grant you and your family a great year with a lot of simches and success in everything you do all with a lot of joy and happiness and as long as there are needy in bet shemesh david morris and lemaan achai will be there

    ReplyDelete
  3. you have to step down from LA to save LA

    ReplyDelete
  4. Rav Malinowitz needs to step down from BTYA, to save BTYA.

    ReplyDelete
  5. David should no more back down from leading Lema'an Achai due to threats, verbal abuse and cherem, than Orot Banot should move to a different neighborhood.

    We're dealing with the same mentality as the kannoim, just with an American accent.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dear David, I am from BTYA and my family has received help and support, both financial and emotional for the past two years from Lemaan Achai. May you and the entire Lemaan Achai team be blessed with a year of health, WEALTH and success-let's get your building up THIS YEAR! All cheshbonos are made in Shemayim over the next two days-Rabbonim have to stand before Hashem's Beis Din too.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Having been involved with LA from the beginning, I can only say that some people fear the real tzadikkim. David, may you and your family continue to bring love and hessed to the world. And may the good people at BTYA stop living in their own bubble, learn what is happening to people outside BTYA, and garner up the courage to find a new Rav, who models Torah and Ahavat Yisrael.

    ReplyDelete
  8. U'Tshuva U'TFilla UTZEDAKA!!!27 September 2011 at 23:11

    I know BTYA families that continue to receive assistance from Lema'an Achai despite the ban on them in the shul.

    Lema'an Achai is a noble organization run by tzaddikim and under rabbinical guidance of 2 of RBSA's outstanding rabbonim...Rav Soloveichik and Rav Haber.

    The shul's continuing cherem is a slap in the face to tzedaka, chesed and these rabbonim.

    It is high time that the leadership of BTYA come off of their high horse and allow Lema'an Achai the same courtesy given to other local organizations.

    ReplyDelete
  9. David - you are a great man. you know me and i know you. you have your hands in a lot of sensitive areas. be it gush katif, child abuse, etc. you cannot pretend that it is all separate. LA is a great organization. you have to choose one path and stick with it. if you step down from LA and focus on more controversial issues...i believe the bans across BS can be lifted and the work can go on strong. it is up to you. if LA was as big as the kuppa, than you as an individual would have a lot of local power to do magen, gush katif stuff, etc. and that is why they ban LA. to weaken your power. and it works. you have to choose. David Morris or LA

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sounds like two strikes against Rabbi Malinowitz - his silence on Orot Banot and now a ban on Lemaan Achai - we shouldn't wait for the third strike to call him "out" !!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Step down: "they ban LA. to weaken your power."

    Read: "They ban LA to weaken Dati Leumi power."

    The only way the chareidi rabbonim would remove the bans (which have been in place in most RBS chareidi shuls for over 10 years - ever since Lema'an Achai opened its door) - would be if 'trusted' loyal haredim totally took over control of Lema'an Achai.

    This is not a personality thing - it's all about hareidi rabbinical power.

    Lema'an Achai, and the values of tolerance, integrity and unity it represents is a threat to the hareidi regime, whose values clash.

    Long may Lema'an Achai remain so - stand up, stand tall!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Now for the Rest of the Story...27 September 2011 at 23:39

    Step Down said:
    "if LA was as big as the kuppa, than you as an individual would have a lot of local power to do magen, gush katif stuff, etc. and that is why they ban LA. to weaken your power."

    I think that Step may be on to something here. Over the past years the Kupa has grown bigger and bigger. Rabbis Malinowtz Kornfeld are very close to Eidensohn and the Kupa.

    Perhaps the bans against LA are actually the means by which these rabbonim pump up the Kupa which much more reflects their very charedi vision of future RBSA.

    By financially choking LA with bans, etc they can nudge support of their organizations.

    Lema'an Achai reflects a more open and tolerant RBSA and this is the last thing some rabbonim desire.

    ReplyDelete
  13. David,

    I'm sorry to say that I have not had a chance to financially support Lema'an Achai for the past few years. The only way to respond to the Cheirim is to give, my goal is to try and help raise money for the worthy organization over the next year as well as donate.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Stand Up,

    I think that you miss the point. Lema'an Achai isn't DL or charedi. It is Jewish and Torah run.

    There are charedim and dlim that volunteer and work with them.

    They have rabbonim from the Charedi, the Chardal, the DL, Anglo and Israeli communities.

    Their director is Rav Leventhal, a respected talmid chochum in the community.

    If there is any group, body or organization that spreads achdus and accomplishes great things it is Lema'an Achai.

    We should do everything and anything to support them and their work.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I find this distasteful. kol hakovod to all the wonderful work that you and lmaan achay do.
    that doesn't give you a right to publcly disparage a local Ruv.
    whether you disagree with him or not, there are many people that have chosen to look up to him and have grown spiritually from their connection to him.
    TO publicly disparage a Rav causes a weakening of his status, and while you may personally be happy with such a thing, there are people who are affected negatively.
    two wrongs don't make a right. if you have a serious offer to make with rav Malinowitz speak to him. don't do it in a public setting.
    perhaps this lack of respect for Rabbanim is what got you in this situation in the first place. there is a difference between disagreeing and making public disparging statments.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anon,

    I am a former member of BTYA. Why former?
    I witnessed Rabbi Malinowitz call David Morris a jack&*%# and a rasha in front of the kehilla on a Shabbos afternoon.

    David Morris works tirelessly for the good of the klal.

    Nothing and I mean nothing disparages a rav more than a public display...made by himself. The only disrespect is that which IMHO the rav brought upon himself.

    Rabbonim are human beings. Human beings are not infallible. They can and sometimes do make mistakes.

    David Morris has never been disrespectful to Rav Malinowitz. The opposite can't be said.

    You obviously don't know David Morris if you could accuse him of being disrespectful of rabbonim.

    Find me where he has done this publicly and I will donate to your favorite tzedaka.

    ReplyDelete
  17. here on this public blog and my favorite tzedaka is lmaan achay

    ReplyDelete
  18. Shalom David,

    Kol HaKavod to you for this magnanimous offer of yours. I can only hope that it will be accepted in the spirit of decency with which it was offered.

    May we all be blessed with a Shanah Tovah,
    Catriel Lev

    ReplyDelete
  19. "here on this public blog".

    I'm a pretty regular reader of Tzedek-Tzedek; I don't recall David ever moving beyond the boundaries of debate & disagreement - to zilzul of rabbonim, chas veshalom.

    Even when a rav has publicly made extremely disparaging personal insults to David's face in the middle of BTYA, David has held back from such 'rabbinical' behavior himself.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Copywriters Needed28 September 2011 at 09:15

    It would be a generous gesture for us to help BTYA write, design, publish the cherem-off-Lema'an Achai now-on-David-Morris pashkeville.

    Any ideas for the text?

    Oy Lanu...etc?

    Any graphic artists to make it look authentically unattractive?

    Who can forge gedolim signatures?

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Barry Chamish (OBM) & Me

Marrying a Soloveitchik