Rabbi Nachman and Esther Kletzky, the parents of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky, the Borough Park boy allegedly abducted and killed by Levi Aron, have issued a statement to the public following their seven days of mourning. They thank friends, neighbors, volunteers, government agencies, and all New Yorkers, as well as those beyond, who helped and prayed for Leiby. Along with asking people to perpetuate the collective love and responsibility expressed during the search for the boy, they’ve set up a fund, LeibyKletzkyMemorialFund — which features an array of photos from Leiby’s childhood and heartbreaking sentiments like “Leiby can never laugh again” — “to channel the lovingkindness shown to us and our dear Leiby toward many, many others in need.” (Currently there is $134,266 donated. The fund will be managed by Leiby’s parents, along with their rabbi.) The family’s full statement:
The traditional seven intense days of mourning (“shiva”) for our beloved Leiby are complete, but the ache in our hearts will remain forever.
We thank G‑d for the nearly nine beautiful years that He entrusted us with Leiby’s pure soul. We are certain that Leiby is now looking down from heaven and blessing us all.
We would like to once again thank all our friends and neighbors; all the selfless volunteers from near and far; local, city, state, and federal agencies; and all our fellow New Yorkers and beyond who assisted us physically, emotionally, and spiritually–as well as all of G‑d’s children around the world who held our dear Leiby in their thoughts and prayers.
We pray that none of you should ever have to live through what we did. But if any tragedy is to ever befall any of you, G‑d forbid, you should be blessed with a community and public as supportive as ours. We feel that through Leiby we’ve become family with you all.
Many of you have asked us what you can do now in Leiby’s memory, and how you can help us find comfort. Looking back at Leiby’s all-too-short years among us, here are a few ideas:
Acts of unity and lovingkindness. Let us perpetuate the feeling of collective responsibility and love expressed during the search for Leiby. An additional act of kindness toward your neighbor, or to those less fortunate than you, can go a long, long way toward perfecting our world. Putting a couple of coins into a charity box daily is one way of tangibly expressing that lovingkindness.
Gratitude. Leiby deeply cherished his siddur, his prayerbook, and praying to G‑d meant the world to him. He was known by his teachers for his concentration in prayer, always being the last to finish. In Leiby’s memory, when you wake up each morning take a few moments to pray and reflect and thank G‑d for giving us life (“Modeh Ani” in the prayerbook).
Light. Every Friday evening our family sits down together for Shabbat dinner to the light of the Shabbat candles. A candle shines for each of our children–and Leiby’s candle will always be included. On Friday evening, please give a few coins to charity and light the candles before sunset with our beloved Leiby in mind.
Memorial fund. Together with Rabbi Binyamin Eisenberger, we have established a memorial fund to help people in dire need (www.leibykletzkymemorialfund.com), to channel the lovingkindness shown to us and our dear Leiby toward many, many others in need. We welcome your participation.
From the deepest place in our hearts, we thank you all for your help, your support and your prayers. May Leiby’s soul live on as a blessing inside each and every one of you.
Nachman and Itta Kletzky
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 22, 2011