The Test of Mettle: The Beit Shemesh Response in a National Crisis


David Morris, the esteemed founder and Chairman of Lema’an Achai which assists families in need and enables them to get back on their feet and to achieve financial and social independence, wrote the email below making several very important points in support of Shalom Lerner who was one of the chief architects of the Beit Shemesh response in helping populations in the North during the massive Hezbollah Katyusha bombardments of the Lebanon conflict of the summer of 2006.

What Morris describes below seems indicative of the love, caring and sensitivity which Shalom Lerner will bring to Beit Shemesh once elected mayor. MB

From: David Morris
Date: Nov 10, 2008 9:20 AM
Subject: Why Vote Shalom? Why Vote BeYachad?!
To: David Morris

Why Vote Shalom Lerner? And Why Vote “BeYachad”?

Hizballah fired over four thousand rockets and missiles, raining death & destruction upon the whole North of Israel. It was the summer of 2006. Danny Vaknin, the Mayor of Bet Shemesh, was on a city-sponsored trip in China.

I was in the Mayor’s office, with Shalom Lerner, Deputy Mayor, who was at the head of a table of distinguished council members and community leaders. “What can we do,” Shalom asked us, “to best help our brothers from the North of Israel?”

The team of the Bet Shemesh Municipality, together with Lema’an Achai, which spearheaded a group of local and national charities, put together and implemented an emergency “City of Refuge” program, which successfully housed, fed and even entertained Over A Thousand Refugees from the devastated cities and towns of Northern Israel.

What is more, Shalom successfully united all those people around that table, representatives from chiloni, dati, chareidi, sephardi, Ashkenazi, Russian, left wing and right wing to roll up their sleeves to help a similarly cross-spectrum population of refugees so that each group, family and individual were given the care and support they desperately needed even to the level of numerous special hechsherim on the food, to providing facilities for the Russians to watch cable TV and play chess!

Bet Shemesh was the ONLY city which responded at this level to the refugee problem of the Lebanon War. The City of Bet Shemesh and Lema’an Achai were spotlighted & commended in the post-war Ben Gurion University Report on “The Response of the Non-Profit Sector to the 2nd Lebanon War”.

Seeing Shalom in action, his immediate and unwavering desire to help Am Yisrael, and his efficient and deeply sensitive management, helping to get the job done quickly and efficiently, cutting through any obstacles, even in a National Emergency (read: “National balagan”) environment made a deep impression upon me.

If he cares this much about the residents of Kireat Shmona, Naharia, Safad, and Tiberius, I reckoned, how much more so he must care about his neighbors and constituents from here in Bet Shemesh.

I have since worked with Shalom on several other projects, in my role as Chairman of Lema’an Achai. He has always been there for us as an organization, and for the many individual families we help, who have also needed his help. From helping us to obtain a site for Lema’an Achai’s new building, to helpling a poor family, who can’t pay their bills, to immediately getting their water switched back on.

I will be voting Shalom Lerner for Mayor of Bet Shemesh ¡V because he cares, he’s capable, he’s straight.

Shalom will clean up our city (physically and politically), and propel it, from being stuck somewhere in the 1950’s, to being the cream of Israel’s cities.

Shalom will preserve & encourage the very best from our rainbow populations, creating a better, more prosperous & united city for all of us. I know, because I have seen with my own eyes how, given the reins, Shalom can achieve what no other mayor in Israel can do.

Why Vote BeYachad? The difficulties for any mayor (or even any Prime Minister in Israel) in achieving real progress, are largely due to the constant need to deal with disparate coalition partners and pander to their narrow partisan agendas. Shalom Lerner therefore created a new party “BeYachad” to run for the mandates for city council.

“BeYachad” means Together, and it’s not just a name, but it describes our philosophy and agenda. When forming BeYachad Shalom Lerner decided to forgo the standard practice of simply listing “old boy” politicians. The BeYachad List include a refreshing & inspiring range of folks, each with an impressive CV of successfully, and selflessly, serving the population of Bet Shemesh both men & women (yes, how many women do you see on other lists?), including from Sephardi, Ashkenazi, Ethiopian, Russian, French, British (me!), and American backgrounds.
BeYachad is a party consisting of individuals who are not only accomplished people but people who have accomplished much for our community. All BeYachad members are shomrei mitzvot whose lives are guided by Torah. This influence enables BeYachad members to remain steadfast to their own ideals while recognizing, respecting and working together with the wonderfully diverse nature of our city’s populace.

BeYachad members have enhanced the education of our city. BeYachad will enable every child to have an equal opportunity to receive a first rate education. BeYachad members are innovators and pioneers in tzedaka and chesed. BeYachad will create win-win partnerships between the Municipality and the charitable sector, and focus on improving the Municipal Welfare Services.

BeYachad members have spearheaded city building and expansion. BeYachad will continue to make sure the city’s limited land and infrastructure are distributed fairly and (solely) according to community needs. BeYachad members have successful business and industry experience. BeYachad will actively attract businesses to Bet Shemesh, increasing local employment and wherewithal.

BeYachad will help Bet Shemesh flourish beyond its humble beginnings of the 1950’s and to join the ranks of other cities. If you’re comfortable with the current rainbow nature of our city’s population and wish to live harmoniously with all of its inhabitants, then Shalom Lerner MUST be your choice for Mayor. And if you want Shalom to be EFFECTIVE to implement change & progress as our Mayor, you MUST vote his party “BeYachad”!! BeYachad, Together, For Bet Shemesh ¡V A City We Can All Be Proud Of!! —

Best Regards,

David Morris
“BeYachad” Party City Council Candidate

Leave a Reply