For Leiby Kletzky, A Tree Will Grow in Prospect Park


leiby-kletzky2Two weeks after 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky was killed, family friends, neighbors and even perfect strangers are coming together to ensure that the memory of the young Borough Park resident long outlives his¬†short life.Through the Prospect Park Alliance’s commemorative tree program, a neighbor has started a tree fund to memorialize Leiby.

“I don’t know the family at all,” Jody Alperin, the creator of the fund, said. “I’ve never even spoken to them. But this tragedy hit close to home.”

After a community wide discussion, Alperin knew it was time to take action.

“I thought about what I could do to help,” she said. “Planting a tree in Leiby’s honor doesn’t bring him back, but it is a way for our community to honor this child and do something good for the family.”

Alperin said she was inspired by the Jewish tradition of tree planting in Israel to honor deceased loved ones. In the dry, arid land of Israel, trees are symbolic of growth, rejuvenation and life.

By planting the tree close to home, Alperin hopes to help the borough in the long healing process to come.

When enough funds have been raised, a tree planting ceremony will be held in Prospect Park. It will be open to all and the Kletzky family will be invited to attend.

“People throughout Brooklyn have been affected by Leiby’s death,” Alperin said. “But I can’t imagine how his family feels. I hope to hold the ceremony at a more appropriate time.”

More than fifty individual donors have already given to the fund, and donations have been spiking in the last several days.

Large or small, any donation will aid Alperin’s mission to memorialize little Leiby: tees in Prospect Park range from $1,000 for an understory tree to $10,000 for a rare heritage tree.

For those wishing to donate, Leiby’s parents have also set up an additional fund: the Leiby Kletzky Memorial Fund, which aims to raise $1 million to aid disadvantaged children and families who cannot afford to wed.

“This tragedy has touched so many people,” said Chaya Schwartz, a spokeswoman for the organization. “And now, it is more important than ever to come together and help other families.”

{Park Slope Patch/ Newscenter}


  1. Jody Alperin should be commended for her actions! the artcle doesn’t say were we could donate money for the tree. Can you help us with that?

  2. each person must do k’fi their musagim . if that is where their musagim are, maybe its a good thing. and you instead of making “farshrunkana” negative comments, go take action and YOU give money to “a real torah cause”

  3. Comment #4, by “kushta” is incredibly boorish and unbecoming of any decent person, much less a Torah Jew. If the individual who posted this is not actually someone just trying to make frum Jews look bad, then I can only hope he is at least either an immature kid or someone who is not playing with a full deck; I would like to think that no normal, mature adult frum Jew could ever post something so gratuitously rude, insulting and vile.

    I am glad that #5 put this “kushta” individual in his place but I am appalled that the offending comment was even approved in the first place.

    Mr. “kushta”: Do you not realize that the drive to raise funds to plant this tree is a gesture of goodwill and sympathy?

    Furthermore, trees are not frivolous; each and every tree helps to clean the air, contributing some much needed relief from pollution. Trees also serve other useful functions, such as providing shade and habitat for birds and other wildlife. Even the purely aesthetic aspects of trees should not be dismissed as entirely frivolous; they can have important psychological and emotional benefits. I, for one, dread the thought of of a city, neighborhood or even block without trees, or with too few. I still miss a beautiful large tree that had been on my block before being removed for some reason. Despite what you may say now, I suspect that should you ever find yourself in an area without trees, you would be quite unhappy.

    If you feel that the money being raised could better be spent in other ways that would better honor the memory of the victim, then perhaps you might consider writing a letter in which you first express your gratitude and appreciation for this effort, making it clear that you realize that the intentions are only good. Then (and only then) you might go on to politely and tactfully suggest other causes that you feel would better honor Leiby, a”h.

    But I question whether even doing that, as opposed to simply expressing hakaras hatov, would be k’dai or pas. I fear it could be seen as being opportunistic; exploiting a situation and certain people’s generosity and goodwill to “cash-in”. Even if the causes that would be suggested were to be completely valid and legitimate, one must always consider how others will perceive something. Certainly, the more specific to Jews and less universal a cause is, the more this concern applies.


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