After a particularly uplifting Shabbos, the chairman of Ezrat Achim, Rabbi Avraham Kopp, lifted the Havdalah cup and his eyes filled with tears of joy. He had every reason in the world to be happy. Why?
About a month ago, a new Ezrat Achim center for Special Needs teenage boys was opened in Ramat Beit Shemesh Daled, run by Rabbi Daniel Kugler.
Last Shabbos, twenty boys, ages 13-21, some of them with a particularly low level of functioning, were hosted at the new Center for the whole shabbos! Ten dedicated volunteers came for shabbos and took part in this great act of chesed. Needless to say, this created a special opportunity for twenty families to have a brief respite from the daily responsibility of caring for their son.
This is true chesed. Each and every one of the volunteers put aside his own needs and left his family to come for Shabbos, which required him to care for a Special Needs teenager for thirty hours—from Friday afternoon to Motzei Shabbos—with all that entails.
Ezrat Achim provided candy, snacks, cakes and other good things to help make the boys happy. Several local Bet Shemesh families got involved and helped with cooking, baking desserts, one of the local bakeries even donated challahs and cookies- what a wonderful community we are part of! Thanks to Rabbi Kopp and the center’s director, R’ Daniel Kugler, twenty families were able to have their son to take part in this Shabbos.
“There is no greater joy than this,” Rabbi Kopp tells us. R’ Daniel Kugler emphasizes that the real heroes are the volunteers: “How many people do you know who are willing to change a diaper for an 18-year-old boy?”
This is an amazing story about great people, a story about one Shabbos of chesed in Beit Shemesh, a story that has only heroes. After finishing our visit to “Ezrat Achim”, we asked Rabbi Kapp why there was a water truck with the logo of Ezrat Achim next to the local shul in Rama Daled?
“Oh… that?” Rabbi Kopp answered simply, “I heard the shuls didn’t have water so we brought them water from Ezrat Achim.”
Nothing more needs to be said.