Ohr Eliezer Fund
A cornerstone of L’ma’anchem.
L’ma’anchem’s multi-faceted activities depend on the generosity of the Ohr Eliezer Fund.
R’ Eliezer was born in 1920 in Strassburg in east France, the son of Menachem Zvi and Chana bas R’ Abish Weiss. His father, who had immigrated from Sanz to Strassburg, was the example of pure emunas chochomim, a chosid devoted to the Bobover rebbes. His house was open to the thousands of Jews in that period who were leaving Poland in droves for Germany and France. He was known for his kindness to everyone, his generosity, and providing hospitality to every Jew in need. In addition, he supported the Torah institutions that were just opening in his area at the time including the yeshiva of Rav Simcha Wasserman (the son of the kodosh Rav Elchonon hy”d) who was grateful to him his whole life. R’ Eliezer himself learned in this yeshiva until it closed down with the advent of the war.
In appreciation for R’ Menachem Zvi’s many kindness, the Belzer rebbe, R’ Aaron, blessed him and promised that nothing bad would happen to him or his family. Indeed, time and again the family was miraculously saved.
R’ Eliezer himself was active in the French underground and a number of his daring exploits even won him medals from the French government. R’ Eliezer also endangered his life numerous times to save families and smuggle them into Switzerland.
During the War, R’ Eliezer strictly kept kosher, didn’t touch forbidden foods, and devotedly observed mitzvos. A researcher of the French underground related in his book about the two Jewish brothers (R’ Eliezer and his brother R’ Elyakim Yehuda) that they bravely fought while stubbornly keeping the laws of their religion.
After the war, R’ Eliezer married Miriam, the daughter of R’ Shlomo Elimelech Gross of Rudnick hy”d (who was taken by the Nazis in the first train to Auschwitz) and Esther nee Monheit. He was a central pillar of the Etz Chaim chareidi kehilla and for forty years voluntarily led the umbrella organization of the chareidi community, encouraged by his wife Miriam who modestly and devotedly was his partner in all his public affairs.
R’ Eliezer was involved his entire life with the Chevra Kadisha and was one of its directors. He made a living from his furniture factory. In those difficult times right after the war, his was the only Jewish business that closed its doors on Shabbos.
His honesty and zeal in showing respect for every person particularly stood out in all that he did. He was the example of honesty and keeping his word. This was well known even to the non-Jewish public around him and they greatly respected him.
R’ Eliezer passed away in Cheshvan 2003 in London, in the hall where they were celebrating the wedding of his first grandson. He had longed to attend this celebration, and was granted it by heaven. After his passing, it was astounding to see that besides the many Jews who attended his funeral, many non-Jews also came who knew his outstanding qualities and mourned him.