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Morris At 15 Video On YouTube

More than 900 people showed up from around the country for his funeral. The rabbi said more than 600 of them were under the age of 20, many who flew in on a day's notice from out-of-state colleges. There were more than 300 of his friends at the memorial two days before, where Rabbi Farber said he was expecting to counsel maybe 5 to 10 people. Letters and notes from people came everyday for months telling of some act of kindness Morris did, how important he made them feel and what a special relationship he had with each person. It turns out that even the funeral director’s daughter knew him. She had the parking spot next to Morris in the high school’s student parking lot. He would wait for her and back her car into her spot because she couldn’t do it herself and backing in was the only way anyone could get out during the rush at the end of the day. Friends who weren't able to make it home in time held services for him in Gainesville, Duke University and in Israel. There’s a group dedicated to him on Facebook with more than 550 members where friends continue to leave messages to him.

The Facebook group was actually formed before it happened to pay homage to Morris' insights, goofy thoughts and words of wisdom, like "know yourself, be yourself." and "who would win in a fight? Mattress Giant or Mr. Clean?"

College student from Dade
fatally wounded in apparent accident

Posted on Mon, Jan. 21, 2008


Morris Stein spent the first 19 years of his life growing up and playing baseball in Northeast Miami-Dade.
Earlier this month, he started his first semester at Tallahassee Community College. He wanted to be an entrepreneur. On Thursday, he died from a shotgun wound to the chest.
The gun was fired inside his apartment by one of his roommates, and the shooting is believed to be an accident. Tallahassee police are still investigating.
In South Florida friends mourned the teen, who will be buried Monday morning. About 300 gathered at an impromptu memorial in the chapel at Beth Torah in Northeast Miami-Dade on Saturday, his mother said.
Stein graduated last year from Dr. Michael M. Krop High School.
''He made everyone feel good,'' said his mother, Robin Stein. ``He was generous, and he was genuine. He didn't care who you were or where you were from, he made you feel good. He was a friend to everyone.''
He was compassionate to everyone, his mother said. When a friend of Morris' came out, some of the other guys didn't want to hang out with the teen, Morris' mom said.
'He said, ``He's our friend, he's the same kid we've hung out with our whole lives. If you won't hang out with him, you won't hang out with me,' '' Robin Stein said.
One friend, 18-year-old Logan Jaffe, remembered him as a problem solver. ''He was always the one to take any problem anyone was having and put things in perspective, so you could see beyond your point of view,'' she said.
Jaffe said Stein loved animals and camping. He had three dogs and two cats and would often rescue strays. ''He couldn't bear to see anyone in pain,'' his mother said.
Stein grew up playing baseball, mostly first base, and spent a few summers in high school at camp, where he volunteered in the community. He later worked as a lifeguard at a camp.
Morris was accepted to Florida State University, then decided to go to school in Boston and then changed his plans again. He planned to start at FSU in the summer to study finance and accounting, his mother said.
His mother said it was fitting his funeral would be on Martin Luther King Holiday. Morris Stein kept a picture of King by his bed, because he ''believed in human rights and diversity,'' Robin Stein said.
In addition to his mother, he is survived by his grandmother, Beverly Stein.
Services will be at 10 a.m. Monday at Beth Torah, 20350 NE 26th Ave., Northeast Miami-Dade.
Miami Herald staff writer Sarah Tompkins contributed to this report.







Morris' Way

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.

At 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.

During 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.

Quietly 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.

During the short time he was here, Morris made the world a better place for everyone whose life he touched. He was bound for greatness.

Some of his own writings can be read on this site by clicking on the links below:

His view of corporate responsibility and social justice, written at age 17

A college essay about his love of diversity

His essay for UMass of Boston about the importance camp had in his life

His last essay written a month before it happened about the appropriate use of power and strength (Booker T. Washington quote)

From Morris' composition booklet Journal written on Sept 11, 2002 (11 days from his 14th birthday)


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