For Leiby Kletzky

Leiby Kletzky

When I woke up this morning, there were a number of angry emails on my local parent listserv in Brooklyn. People were complaining that they had been woken up the day before by an “Orthodox Jewish organization” calling too early, waking up their kids.

As it turns out, those were volunteers trying to help locate an 8-year-old Hasidic boy named Leiby Kletzky, who disappeared on Monday after convincing his parents to let him walk home by himself from camp. They waited outside, but he never arrived.

The boy went missing and then the worst possible news was announced this morning. The boy had been abducted and brutally murdered. I’ll spare you the details because they’re too heinous to digest. And while it’s the kind of thing that would have always horrified me, as a parent, I’m horrified by it on a whole new level.

Of course, parents on my local listserv apologized once they realized why the phone had been ringing. And, it was amazing to watch the way the Orthodox Jewish community responded. Hundreds of volunteers mobilized to look for the boy, arriving by the busload from all pockets of the city. Phone calls were made. Within hours, $100,000 was raised as a reward for information leading to an arrest.

In the end, none of it could help. The boy was dead. A man was found and arrested.

It’s a cliche to say that this is every parent’s nightmare. But it is. So, let’s take a moment to think about Leiby. And his family.

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Deborah Kolben

Deborah Kolben is Editorial Director/Founding Editor of Kveller. She formerly covered education, crime, and real estate at the New York Daily News and The New York Sun before becoming  the city editor of The New York Sun and the managing editor of  the Village Voice.  She has also written for The New York TimesFinancial TimesThe Forward, and Jerusalem Report. She received a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and received an Arthur F. Burns fellowship to report in Germany. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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