Prayer services and volunteers for searching organized themselves in Bergen and Passaic counties only hours after Leiby Kletzky went missing Monday evening. Synagogue listserves, such as Teaneck Shuls, sent out calls for volunteers to go to Borough Park to aid in the search, and also urged their communities to recite prayers on the boy’s behalf.
The 9-year-old Chasidic boy from Borough Park did not return home after day camp on Monday. He was found murdered on Wednesday. Police are holding a suspect, Levi Aron.
Rabbi Ron Eisenman of Congregation Ahavas Israel in Passaic said he organized a prayer vigil at his synagogue to pray for the boy and his family. “As soon as we heard [about the boy going missing], Monday night, we started praying,” he told the Jewish Standard Wednesday afternoon from Borough Park, where he was on his way to attend the child’s funeral.
The mood in Borough Park was very grim, he said. “Borough Park is usually an extremely lively neighborhood. But this place is like-you can see it on people’s faces; just to walk into a clothing store-people are just in shock.”
“The outpouring of emotions….Even our non-Jewish custodial staff came to me to ask me please give the family our condolences,” Eisenman said.
A young man from his congregation, who identified himself only as Avraham, was among those who went to Brooklyn to join the search, which was organized with the help of the Shomrim Society, the New York Police Department’s Jewish fraternal organization. Avraham was assigned to search a two-block radius, including “any backyards, alleys, driveways, dumpsters, garages, and synagogues [and] to show any people I saw the picture” of the boy, he said.
News reports say there were hundreds of volunteers involved in the search. Avraham said he was impressed with the turnout. “It was an amazing thing to see how quickly everyone responded and tried to do what they can-from 30th street in Brooklyn all way to the 80s, a huge area searched by volunteers….We just came out and searched,” he said.
Avraham is taking an EMT course this summer and is planning to start nursing school in September at Beth Israel School of Nursing in Manhattan. He said he was motivated to do what he could for the Kletzkys. “I was thinking if it was my sibling or my friend, I’d want people to come try to find him.”