The Leiby Kletzky Memorial Fund was established by Nachman & Esty Kletzky, in the wake of the tragic death of their only son eight year old Leiby. The Fund’s mission is to seek out troubled children and young adults, understand their specific needs, and help them get through their difficulties.
A tremendous outpouring of support for the Fund made it possible to raise over $300,000 for the Fund’s programs. Simultaneously, in the past eleven months since the Fund began, thousands of requests for assistance from around the world, from groups and individuals, have also poured in. These petitions for assistance ranged from requests to help other organizations, and requests from families and individuals to help pay for items ranging from buying apartments or merely helping out with their rent, utilities, tuition, and countless other needs.
The Fund’s trustees have spent countless weeks, day and night, merely to study each request, and assign an “urgency and priority level” to them. After much deliberation and consultation, it was agreed upon that that the highest priority be given to children and young adults who were in immediate danger or risk. These primarily included children and young adults that required pressing psychological and psychiatric help, but could not afford it. The Fund puts them into therapy with the most accredited practitioners. In addition, children and young adults who need to be sent to a controlled rehabilitative facility, but are financially unable to pay for it, are sponsored by the Fund.
The number of cases of children and young adults who were targeted by the Fund and were given the highest priority rating is huge. The costs of ongoing professional therapies and for rehabilitative facilities are extremely expensive. The commitments that the Fund has undertaken just for these high priority cases alone, and the money earmarked for it, have already exhausted all the money the Fund has raised to date.
Through the Fund's work with these professionals and rehabilitative facilities, we have been advised that to benefit a considerable number of these patients, mostly those coming from troubled and abusive homes, it would be absolutely necessary to provide them with a safe and managed summer camp. These children and young adults are confused, and greatly distressed from their year-round environment. They do not know what a carefree youth is or what affection of a loved one feels like.
FOR THEM, SUMMER CAMP IS NOT A LUXURY. IT IS NOT VACATION FROM SCHOOL, HOMEWORK AND TESTS. IT IS A SAFE HAVEN AND FREEDOM FROM NEGLECT, ABUSE, PAIN AND ISOLATION.
The benefits of a safe, fun-filled summer can last a lifetime for a troubled child. Unfortunately, camps are not subsidized by government aid. It is imperative that we raise at least $150,000 in the next few weeks for this purpose. Leiby Kletzky life was snuffed out in a manner beyond our control, but these kids can and must be helped now before it is too late!
In honor and memory of Leiby’s first Yahrzeit, coming up on July 1, a massive Safe Camp Initiative has been launched. It is expected that all of us, who care for the lives and wellbeing of the troubled youth among us, will respond most generously to prevent tragedies among our innocent, precious children.
Yesterday, Sunday June 3, Nachman & Esty Kletzky, the family rabbi Rabbi Binyomin Eisenberger, and a small select group of family and friends converged on the gravesite of little Leiby Kletzky in Deans, New Jersey to mark the end of the eleven month period since his death. They also came to place a tombstone on the hallowed grave of the eight year old little boy. It is hard to believe that eleven months has already passed since the abrupt and shocking death of Leiby. The wounds and memories are still fresh and painful. For the past eleven months kaddish was recited thrice daily for Leiby's soul and Sunday marked the final day of this period. It is just a month shy of the upcoming Yahrzeit on July 1.
The ceremony consisted of the recital of Psalms, the Keil Moleh Rachamim and other traditional prayers. Jewish tradition says that these prayers add comfort and benefit to the soul.
Leiby's tombstone is inscribed in beautiful but haunting prose and bears an anachronism of the Hebrew names of Leiby and his father Nachman.
The words of pain and lament inscribed on the tombstone, bear witness to the outstanding refinement and character traits of little Leiby whose life was cut so tragically short. It also describes the enormity of his loss and the impact that it had on the entire world - Jewish and non-Jewish alike. It calls on people everywhere to search their souls and seek self-improvement.
The final words of the tombstone bear the Hebrew name of Leiby’s mother, Esty Kletzky, who mourns the loss of her only son.
Little Leiby Kletzky would have turned all of nine years old this past August 20. Ordinarily, a Birthday is a grand time to celebrate; a joyous gathering of family and friends, replete with festive music, a sumptuous meal and a luscious birthday cake.
Sadly, for the Kletzky family, this time circumstances were starkly different. Gala festivities were replaced by deep sorrow and grief which enveloped the family and friends of Leiby, may his memory be a blessing. His ninth birthday ceremony was marked by a tearful and solemn visit this past Sunday to his freshly dug gravesite, where candles were lit and prayers for Leiby’s soul were offered.
The death of little Leiby continues to make shockwaves throughout the entire world. Thousands of people around the globe continue to be utterly affected. Leiby’s parents have received many thousands of letters and emails sharing in their grief and wondering if there was anything they could do to assuage the deep hurt the family is experiencing.
Leiby’s tragic death left a gaping hole in the hearts of his parents Nachman & Esty, Nevertheless, they have demonstrated exceptional strength of character to look beyond their personal anguish and grief, and transform all the sadness into positive energy to be used to alleviate the plight of children struggling with difficult life situations; young orphans coping with the tragic loss of a parent, children living with a debilitating illness or disability, and other terrible calamities. So they created the “LEIBY KLETZKY MEMORIAL FUND”. Through this Fund, Leiby will live on in the many triumphs and accomplishments of the children the Fund will help. They will all become "Leiby's" children. It will also bring Leiby's family a measure of healing, a modicum of comfort. In difficult moments will feel that Leiby is still here with them, instrumental in bringing about so much good in the world.
In memory of Leiby on his 9th Birthday, the Leiby Kletzky Memorial Fund created a special web page which features a stirring video of Leiby’s life. Visitors to the page can choose to give Leiby a meaningful 9th Birthday gift with a generous contribution to the Fund. The web page is located at www.RememberingLeiby.com
Before 8-year-old Leiby was abducted, he wandered the streets of Borough Park alone, trying to find a way to meet up with his mother and unsure who to turn to. And that is something Charles Hynes, the Brooklyn District Attorney never wants to happen again. He has launched a new program called Safe Stop intended to protect and provide assistance for children who feel that their safety may be at risk.
Hopefully this program will save children,” Hynes said on Tuesday in Sunset Park where he announced the new initiative. “We are always looking for ways to make Brooklyn safer.” The essence of the program is quite simple. Interested businesses are selected and trained by their local Business Improvement Districts as to where to refer people in need and how to help them. Once they've been trained they get an attractive "Safe Stop" decal to put in their windows which designates that store as a safe stop. “Sometimes people who need help don’t know where to turn. Now, if someone is lost, has a medical emergency, or is a crime victim, they can go into any of these Safe Stop locations”, the DA said.
The DA's office, which says it has actually been working on this program for some time, hopes to educate children and their parents about the program through brochures that will be handed out in schools across the borough. "I would hope that having these Safe Stop programs all over Brooklyn will save children," Hynes said
Seventy seven Safe Stop zones immediately were established by owners of stores in Sunset Park, Williamsburg, and Park Slope. Hynes and neighborhood representatives indicated there are plans to add many more merchants to the list in the near future.
This past Friday August 12 marked the conclusion of the “shloshim” thirty day mourning period for Leiby Kletzky by his parents, Nachman and Esty, and their five daughters.
It is difficult to fathom how they were able to survive the mind wrenching weeks of sleepless nights agonizing over the devastating shock of the loss of their beloved son and brother. The seven days of Shiva and subsequent Shloshim served as a cathartic period for them to slowly come to grips with the new reality that they face. It was clear to see that it was only due to their rock solid faith in the Almighty and their firm belief in Him that helps them endure this unimaginable tragedy. Their trust that every occurrence on earth, even the smallest detail, is indisputably ordained by the Master of the World. Surely a life altering calamity such as the death of a child is unquestionably the explicit will of Hashem, although His reasons and His ways are hidden.
Nachman and Esty have not stop offering words of gratitude to members of the community for their colossal efforts throughout the entire ordeal. The Kletzkys are immensely comforted by the outpouring of emotional support. They received an enormous amount of Chizuk and inspiration from the massive stream of visitors who offered their condolences with therapeutic words of healing. In particular, it was those families, who themselves have experienced the loss of a loved one, who brought them immeasurable solace. Thousands of condolence messages were sent by mail and online, and the Kletzkys are kept very busy, reading each and every letter and email they receive. Untold hours of Torah study was undertaken by young and old around the globe.
But more than anything, the Kletzkys reap vast comfort from the grassroots swell of contributions pouring in to the Leiby Kletzky Memorial Fund. Upon rising from Shiva this morning, Reb Nachman Kletzky very poignantly declared. “Had my dear son Leiby lived he would have contributed so much good to the world. He was such a sensitive and kind soul. Now that his beautiful life was cut so short we should not allow the world to miss out. We wish to establish a fund in memory of our dear Leiby, to keep him alive in our hearts and minds. This fund would help children in crisis, something that Leiby would have wanted to do had he been given more years of life. By making this fund a successful one, we can turn the anguished cries of “Leiby, Where are you?” into the sacred reply of “I am here, saving the lives of children in need.”
Thousands upon thousands of young and old, around the whole world, have collectively studied the entire gamut of Hebrew Holy books for the sake of the soul of little Leiby Kletzky .
According to Jewish tradition, the souls of the deceased enjoy immense consolation and comfort when the Holy Books are recited and studied in their memory. This is particularly true in the first month after a person’s passing, continuing through the entire first year, and indeed continues on perpetually, to a degree, with special emphasis on the Yahrzeit/ Anniversary of the day of death.
It is usually only very close family members and friends who make the strenuous effort to devote themselves to this difficult and time consuming course of study. It was rather different with little Leiby, who became everyone’s child. Just as thousands of volunteers joined in the dramatic rescue efforts and to offer prayers for his safe return, so too thousands have undertaken to comfort his soul.
Aside from the traditional study of Scripture (Chumash & Nach), the six orders of Mishna, and the entire Shas (Bavli & Yerushalmi), Leiby’s new “extended family” have also completed such colossal works as the entire Mishna Berurah of the Chofetz Chaim, and works of Mussar such as the Mesilas Yesharim.
May all of this incredible outpouring of unified support from near and far bring comfort to Leiby’s soul and may it bring great merit to his parents and sisters, and indeed all of mankind.
This past Sunday July 24, The Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services and Chai Lifeline teemed up with a number of Queens Synagogues and organizations for an evening of unity and education evening in memory of Leiby Kletzky of blessed memory.
The event was held at the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills on 150-05 70th Road and in collaboration with: The National Council of Young Israel, Vaad Harabonim of Queens, Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, Young Israel of Hillcrest, Magen USA, and Queens Jewish Community Council.
Featured speakers were Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld of Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, Rabbi Dr. Richard Weiss of Young Israel of Hillcrest, Dr. Norman Blumenthal of Chai Lifeline's Project Chai, Debbie Fox, of Aleinu Family Resource Center in Los Angeles, and Rabbi Aryeh Sokoloff of Kew Gardens Synagogue Adas Yeshurun.
A question and answer session followed the presentations. The evening was extremely informative and inspiring and the assembled left with a tremendous infusion of chizuk.
Chabad.info reports that the Chabad youth organization, Tzivos Hashem, in Melbourne, Australia began writing a children's Sefer Torah in memory of Leiby Kletzky o”h. At the launching ceremony, a video of the Lubavitch Rebbe zt”l was played, discussing the significance of writing a Sefer Torah, especially through children.
Rabbi Zvi Telsner, a dayan in Melbourne, addressed the event, saying it was amazing how so far across the ocean, Leiby's story touched hearts of his fellow children. "This is the reason we write a Sefer Torah; to express that unity which clearly exists between us."
As reported on the Lubavitch.com website, Chabad representatives in communities around the world have launched a worldwide Talmud study program in memory of Leiby Kletzky ob”m. They have also established a website dedicated to this project, www.LeibyMemorial.com where participants will have the option to commit online to the study of a page, a section or an entire tractate of the Talmud. It is expected that thousands of people around the globe will join.
Rabbi Asher Deren, the Chabad representative in Cape Town, South African first floated the idea on an internal forum for Chabad Shluchim. “While studying the entire Mishna in memory of the deceased is widespread, rarely is the entire Talmud covered in an individual’s memory,” explained Rabbi Deren. “But rarely was the international Jewish community united in this way, when Leiby’s shining face captured the hearts of every Jewish person.”
The idea was developed by representatives of Shluchim Exchange, the Chabad Shluchim’s Intranet, and approved by Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice Chairman of Chabad's educational division. The program will be implemented in cities around the world. The www.LeibyMemorial.com site will serve as a 24-hour online support system for an international base of Talmud learners. Without necessitating an account or login, visitors can choose a portion of the Talmud, access links to Talmud lessons and record their achievements. Periodical emails will remind participants about their commitments.
“This program will unify all segments of communities all around the world, in memory of Leiby Kletzky,” said Rabbi Simcha Backman director of Chabad in Glendale, CA and a key coordinator of the project.
A full cycle of Talmud study will be completed at least once before the “Shloshim” the 30th day of mourning for Leiby o”h is over.
Kensington, a small neighborhood in Brooklyn between Boro Park and Flatbush, is where Leiby Kletzky was held captive and killed. This past Wednesday night a large memorial gathering was held at the Tiferes Mordechai hall on McDonald Avenue. The memorial gathering, organized by a group of prominent Kensington activists, drew large crowds of men and women.
Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser, a featured speaker at the memorial and the evening’s chairman, announced the launch of a new Kensington initiative, The Kensington ChesedLine. The Kensington community which seeks to engage in a proactive constructive and healing response to the terrible tragedy perpetrated in their neighborhood will do acts of kindness through the ChesedLine. The line will provide information of schedules of prayers and lectures in the community, those seeking to engage a tutor for their child and those offering tutorial services, living accommodations for guests attending a family celebration, rides to other parts of N.Y., rentals and sales of houses and apartments, employment opportunities, Simcha listings, lost & found, and much more.
A flyer was distributed at the event asking that anyone wishing to volunteer or help sponsor the ChesedLine to please call Rabbi Shlomo Friedman at 347-268-5313.
Tonight, Wednesday July 27, a massive memorial service for Leiby Kletzky will be held at the Tiferes Mordechai Hall at 600 McDonald Avenue. This event is organized by residents of Kensington and is endorsed by the numerous Congregations of Kensington.
Featured speakers will be the Novominsker Rebbe - Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, Rabbi Noach Issac Oelbaum - the Rabbi of Congregation Nachlas Yitzchok in Kew Gardens Hills, and Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser, who will also serve as the program chairman.
At a time when the entire world is still reeling with this unspeakable tragedy, the broad public is reaching out to spiritual leaders everywhere to receive guidance on coping with the pain of the tragedy and gaining meaning and insight on what each and every individual should do to become a better person.
An overflowing crowd of thousands attended a memorial gathering for Leiby Kletzky a”h this past Monday evening July 25th at the Ateres Golda Hall in Boro Park. Prominent speakers held the huge crowd captive with heartwarming words of solace and comfort and rousing calls for repentance.
The dynamic orators accentuated the need of the hour of each and every member of the community, and in fact every person anywhere where this tragedy has touched hearts, to engage in introspection and actively seek to strengthen and improve oneself in areas of decency, morality, and other character traits and also take a greater interest in the physical & spiritual welfare of others.
Leiby’s paternal grandfather was also in attendance, sitting quietly in a corner absorbing the deeply emotional and stirring words of the speakers.
The Chazak Inspiration Line, a division of the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation, has added to their list of phone lectures, a line up of prominent speakers who have addressed the issues concerning the enormous struggle of the broad public in the wake of the tragic death of Leiby Kletzky.
The new series of lectures feature such illustrious presenters as the noted child psychologists Dr. Norman Blumenthal and Dr. David Pelcowitz, the esteemed Rabbis Avrohom Schorr, Shimshon Sherer, Fishel Schachter, Simcha Bunim Cohen, Yaakov Horowitz, Moshe Tuvia Lieff, Moshe Meir Weiss, and many others. This free service is available 24 hours a day at: 718-258-2008 pin # 1234 and 845-356-6665 pin # 3100.
The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation is world renown organization which since 1989 has launched innovative methods of promoting the Torah's wisdom on human relations and personal development. The foundation utilizes a vast array of effective communication tools including books, tapes, video seminars, telephone classes and a newsletter, designed to heighten one's awareness of such essential values as judging others favorably, speaking with restraint and integrity, and acting with sensitivity and respect, recipes for building a world of compassion and harmony.
A massive memorial gathering for Leiby Kletzky a"h will take place Monday evening July 25th 8:30 pm at the Ateres Golda Hall at 1362- 50th Street in Boro Park, Brooklyn. Many of the city's most prominent Rabbis and religious leaders will attend.
According to the event's organizers, Rabbi Chaim Yehoshua Halberstam, the Rav of Satmar in Monsey is scheduled to speak at 8:30 PM, Rabbi Avrohom Schorr the Rabbi of Khal Tifres Yaakov at 9:00, Rabbi Aharon Toiseg, a guest speaker from Israel at 9:15, Rabbi Avrhom Yosef Rosenblum, the sagacious and esteemed Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Sharei Yosher at 10:00, Rabbi Yeshaya Yaakov Portugal, the son of the Skulener Rebbe at 10:15, and his esteemed father the Skulener Rebbe will address the gathering at the end of the program.
Thousand are anticipated to join this gathering.
By the Grace of G-d
Tammuz 19, 5771 / July 21, 2011
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 loving kindness. 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 loving-kindness.
Gratitude. Leiby deeply cherished his siddur/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, reflect, and thank G-d for giving us life.
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. We have established a memorial fund to help people in dire need (www.leibykletzkymemorialfund.com), to channel the loving kindness 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 Esty Kletzky
(Published on VosIzNeias.com)
The Kensington Prospect and VosIzNeias news blogs report that this Sunday evening July 25, a candle lighting vigil in memory of Leiby Kletzky will take place at the Public School 230 playground on McDonald Avenue near Albermarle Road. Everyone has been touched by the tragedy and the vigil is a means to express support, unity, and a tribute to Leiby.
Word of the vigil has spread all over Brooklyn blogs and a huge turnout is expected.
The organizer of the vigil, Veronica Guzman, a 38 year old mother of three who lives in Kensington, in an interview with VosIzNeias, said “When we first got word of this terrible tragedy, everyone was in a state of shock”. “Everywhere you went you saw it on people’s faces. We share in the sorrow and we want to pay our respects with a silent tribute to show our solidarity with the Kletzky family and the Jewish community.”
(Source: Vos Iz Neias.com)
(Source: Vos Iz Neias.com)
Foodtown, located on McDonald Avenue at the corner of Albermarle Road, is graciously giving away candles all day today for all people attending tonight's candlelight vigil. The store has set up an area by the exit so people can help themselves to a candle.
This past Thursday evening almost a thousand people from the Five Towns and Far Rockaway filled Congregation Knesset Israel, known as the White Shul, for a symposium on dealing with the tragedy of Leiby Kletzky.
The forum was organized by Chai Lifeline and co-sponsored by Interborough Developmental and Consultation Center, MASK, and Achiezer.
The evening began with words of comfort and inspiration Rabbi Eytan Feiner, the Rabbi of the White Shul. He underscored the tremendous sense of unity of the entire community that had come about as a result of the tragedy and he urged participants to continue to lose that sense of unity.
Dr. Norman Blumenthal, a clinical psychologist and director of Chai Lifeline’s department of crisis intervention and bereavement, presented sage guidance on how to discuss Leiby’s death with children.
David Pelcovitz, Ph.D., a renowned child psychologist and professor at Yeshiva University, also addressed the gathering and offered advice on giving children a sense of security in an ever-changing world.
A video of Dr. Blumenthal’s advice on talking to children about the tragedy is posted on Youtube.com which has drawn almost 25,000 viewers.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, wearing a yarmulke, visited Boro Park this past Monday evening to pay his respects to the family of Leiby Kletzky. Mayor Bloomberg called Leiby Kletzky's death one of the sad days in the history of New York. The mayor who was accompanied by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly spent about 15 minutes speaking with the Kletzky family. "The commissioner and I express our condolences to the parents and grandparents and siblings, and there’s not a lot else we can say," "I think we should, before we go to bed, take a look at our children and recognize how lucky we are to have them and pray this doesn’t happen to us." the Mayor was quoted as saying.
Like many couples, Shmuel and Shira Rudsky, of Miami FL, were deeply pained by the death of young Leiby Kletsky. The Chabad couple showed their concern and compassion in a very unique way. As soon as their six and a half pound boy was born, the parents agreed to name him Ezriel Leib.
In an interview with VIN News that was posted by Vosizneias.com, Shmula Rudsky explained, "My wife and I were in the delivery room when we heard the tragic news. We felt a connection...and made the decision right then and there to honor Leiby's memory by giving our son the name Leib."
Brooklyn's Congregation Anshe Sfard hosted a special prayer service in memory of Leiby Kletzky, The event was organized by Charlie Bernhaut, founder of Cantors World. Bernhaut told a VIN News reporter, "The community shares with the Kletzky family the pain and grief from this tragedy. This prayer service is a fitting and appropriate response to comfort the bereaved." Participating cantors included Netanel Herstik, Yanky Lemmer, Benzion Miller, Shimmy Miller, Zevi Muller and Yaakov Rosenfeld. They were accompanied by Izchak Haimov & The Hampton Synagogoue Choir. The esteemed Rabbi of the synagogue Yechiel Kaufman spoke words of inspiration and healing. He also announced the establishment by the Kletzky family of the Leiby Kletzky Memorial Fund for families and children in crisis. (Source: voisneias.com)
To prevent tragedies such as the one that occured to Leiby Kletzky, Brooklyn Councilman David Greenfield is proposing "official" safe havens for kids.
To qualify, store owners and their employees would undergo a background criminal check. Residents could also volunteer a background check. Once they passed, participants would receive a green sticker identifying their place as an official Safe Haven. According to the councilman's office, the idea is being supported by store owners and home owners alike. Concilman Greenfield intends to introduce legislation for the program in the fall, and could take three to six months to implement.