Borough Park, NY – Shiva for Slain 8-Year-Old Leiby Kletzky

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    Family of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky leave for funeral services in the Brooklyn borough of New York Wednesday, July 13, 2011. APBorough Park, NY – The Jewish custom of shiva, the seven days of intense mourning, often has its spirited aspects.

    Despite the prevailing sorrow, visitors might gather around platters of food in a bereaved family’s home and celebrate a long life, or remember foibles with affectionate laughter.

    But not after the death of a child, particularly one who died in such chilling fashion as Leiby Kletzky, the 8-year-old Brooklyn boy who was kidnapped and killed this week.

    Throughout the morning and afternoon on Friday, a stream of visitors entered the Kletzky family’s brick apartment building on 15th Avenue in Borough Park. Almost all were somber, as if on a mission they did not relish.

    Shoeless and sitting on a low chair, Leiby’s father, Nachman, received the visitors alone in a narrow dining room while his wife, Itta, and their four daughters clustered in a bedroom off the kitchen.

    “They’re trying to cope,” said Jonathan Schwartz, 42, a close friend. “They keep on saying that God gave them the privilege to raise this child for nine years.”

    Outside the building, neighbors had posted a sign that said: “Please be sensitive to the family. DO NOT share rumors, stories and information you have heard – at all!!” Leiby was suffocated and his body was dismembered, but people close to the Kletzkys say they have tried to spare the family the details.

    Shiva, prescribed for the death of a parent, child, sibling or spouse. Close relatives do not work, cook or run errands. They spurn shoes, refrain from showers and shaves, do not wear fresh clothes and sit in low chairs. Mirrors are covered, and a candle burns round the clock.

    Shiva harks back to the Bible’s tale of the seven days that Joseph mourned his father, the patriarch Jacob.

    But shiva can be a surprisingly busy time. Synagogues dispatch volunteers three times a day to set up minyans, quorums of 10 for prayer, and often send along a Torah, said Menashe Silber, a Hasidic community organizer.

    Bereavement organizations like Chesed Shel Emes provide such necessities as the low chairs and prayer books, according to Rabbi Mayer Berger, a director of Chesed.

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    12 COMMENTS

    1. The stories earlier this week here on VIN said the family was too upset to attend the levayah. Yet, the photo in this article shows they did leave their home to go to the levayah. Why are they changing the story after the fact.?

    2. Kol hamerachem al achzarim sofo litachzer al rachmanim the gemoro says whoever is compasionate on cruel people will be cruel to compassionate people, his jewish neshama has been cut off from him kores meamav

    3. i don’t get the point of “hiding” from parents the sad truth. He will find out sooner or later, then he “will sit shiva again” might as well spill all the beans at once, to avoin unnecessary pain

    4. To Chavi # 6 and Esther # 8
      YES AGREED lets “ALL” MEANING INCLUDING OUR “RABONIM” pull together, lets see TRUTH AND REMORSE

      We are all Guilty, Rabbonim wake up and ask forgiveness of Rabbi N Rosenberg.

      YES HE WARNED ALL OF US and all we could do is put him in CHEREM.

      SHAME ON ALL OF US!!!

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