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The Beggars of Lakewood

posted on October 20, 2014

In The New York Times’ Magazine, Mark Oppenheimer profiles the town of Lakewood, New Jersey, which has a large Jewish population. “The spiritual ecology of the town revolves around the Torah, which obliges that all Jews, even those who are in need themselves, give to charity,” Oppenheimer writes. Because of the Jewish community’s charitable obligation, beggars like Elimelech Ehrlich from Israel can register and become licensed to beg in Lakewood. “There’s a certain warmth and trust to it,” Aaron Kotler, president of Beth Medrash Govoha, the country’s largest yeshiva, said. “In a big city, in Manhattan, you see indigent people collecting on the street. That doesn’t feel as dignified as this. Here, a person knocks on the door. And tells you their story.”

Read at The New York Times' Magazine