Thy Neighbor’s Son
More on the Kletzky murder
New York has a long feature on Leiby Kletzky and the eight-year-old Hasidic boy from Brooklyn’s accused killer, Levi Aron. It retells in full, grisly detail the way in which what began as one of the more innocent kidnappings—Aron drove Kletzky up to a wedding in Monsey, New York, and back; there does not appear to have been sexual abuse or anything like that—turned into a horrific murder (allegedly) when Aron realized that all the resources of Borough Park’s ultra-Orthodox community were being brought to bear on finding the missing boy. Maybe the most shocking thing, particularly to those in the community, is that the crime was perpetrated (allegedly) by one of their own. The article makes clear, however, that if Aron did indeed come from a Hasidic family in the neighborhood (actually the neighboring neighborhood of Kensington, but close enough), he himself was different: plagued by loneliness and depression, involved in unconventional and broken marriages. But he still looked the part and was in the right place, which is likely how Kletzky came to approach him when he was lost on his way home from yeshiva.
“You must understand,” [a local rabbi] said, “Jews have lived through many atrocities. You open these books”—he waved his pale fingers at the adjoining shelves—“and you will find record of the worst of possible crimes. And yet I will tell you, I have not found evidence of an atrocity such as this one.”
“Where the murderer was a Jew,” I said.
“Where the murderer was a Jew, yes, and also a neighbor.”