Way - Caring for the Environment
In the Jewish tradition, a boy becomes a man at the age
of 13, meaning he can take responsibility within the community
and participate fully in religious services. Morris went
through this rite of passage but took responsibility at
a much younger age, doing mitzvot (good deeds)
all year long: recycling, picking up litter, treating
others with kindness and fairness and being a good and
loyal friend. It was easy to be impressed by him.
age 11, his friend Tarique’s mom took him and Tarique
to the Youth Fair. Two years later she still talked about
how Morris went after a piece of paper on the floor blowing
away in the wind. She said “he went after it like
it was a thousand-dollar bill.” At home there’d
be stray pieces of plastic and paper in the laundry from
what Morris found on the street and stuffed in his pockets
planning to dispose of properly. He endured a lot of friendly
teasing about his concern for the environment. But inevitably
the friends who joked about it became more careful about
what they tossed on the ground.
one little league game, a boy maybe a year or two older
than Morris was sitting in the bottom row of the bleachers.
The kid crumbled up and threw his pizza paper on the ground
while Morris was on deck in the batter’s circle.
Morris, who noticed everything, saw through the fence
and told him “pick it up.” He answered that
he would if Morris hit a home run. Morris did and when
he made it to the plate he said, “now pick it up”
and the kid, smiling, picked it up. Everyone thought it
was pretty funny – and very cool.
and consistently taking responsibility. Quietly and consistently
taking action. Morris raised the awareness of everyone
around him through his example. That is one of the highest
levels of tzedakah, of social justice –
of tikun olam, making the world a better place.
the short time he was here, Morris made the world a better
place for everyone whose life he touched. He was bound