13 February 2017

The Term Here is Mensch

Alexander Rapaport is an Orthodox Jew who runs a soup kitchens in and around Borough Park.

He expressed support for the plight of immigrants shut out by Trump's now enjoined immigrant ban, and what followed was an exodus of donors who turned out to be bigots:
Alexander Rapaport, a Brooklyn Hasid, says his experience being the victim of anti-Semitism forces him to call out hatred against others. So Rapaport, who runs a network of kosher soup kitchens, helped organize a communal show of support last week for a local Yemeni-owned bodega in reaction to President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Not everyone was happy about the gesture.

“I received your solicitation letter in the mail along with this phone number,” read a text message he received Wednesday. “After seeing, though, that you protested President Trump’s executive order, and thus shamefully sided with those who are putting American lives in danger, I am no longer able to donate to your organization.”


Rapaport, who lives in the strongly Hasidic Borough Park neighborhood, said that other donors approached him in the street to complain about his stance on immigration following his show of support for the shop. Last week, after Yemeni-American bodega owners organized a strike to protest the president’s temporary travel ban, Rapaport showed his support by going to a local store with other community members and pasting Post-it notes with “messages of love and solidarity” on its storefront.


The 38-year-old father of seven has gotten complaints after he spoke up for immigrants previously and lost funders who were unhappy that the strictly kosher soup kitchen serves anyone who wants a meal, regardless of religious background.

In December 2015, Rapaport attended a protest at New York City Hall following a call by Trump, then a presidential candidate, for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

While Rapaport has considered being less outspoken, he said hiding his views wouldn’t be honest.

“I don’t want to take anyone’s money under false pretense. Yes, I am personally very pro-immigrant, and if that makes me unqualified for your donation, please don’t give it to me,” he told JTA.
Rapaport has received support from many parts of the Orthodox community, but I have a message for those parts of the community who seem determined to allow their personal bigotries rule their actions:
The stranger who sojourns with you shall be as a native from among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord, your God.

:כְּאֶזְרָח מִכֶּם יִהְיֶה לָכֶם הַגֵּר | הַגָּר אִתְּכֶם וְאָהַבְתָּ לוֹ כָּמוֹךָ כִּי גֵרִים הֱיִיתֶם בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם אֲנִי יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם
Drops mic.


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