When Rabbi Nachman and Esty Kletzky announced the formation of the Leiby Kletzky Memorial Fund, they did not know what to expect. Just one day later, the results have been very gratifying. Over 1,000 people from all over the world – Jews and non-Jews, men and women, strangers and friends -have visited www.LeibyKletzkyMemorialFund.com, and donated over $51,000.
Donations have come from Australia, Belgium, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Switzerland, Russia, Turkey, Israel, and, of course, the United States. Over 500 people posted words of comfort for the family and the community. Already, one couple in Florida named their new baby Leiby in his honor.
It was just a week ago that an overwhelming outpouring of concern and kindness began with Leiby’s disappearance. Seven thousand volunteers joined in the frantic search. Once the word spread, tens of thousands also included Leiby in their prayers. Rabbis addressed their congregations. Teachers talked to their students. Parents shared their feelings with their children. The support for Nachman, Esty and their five daughters was overwhelming. When hope turned into horror, the community’s support did not fade. If anything it increased with expressions of consolation from all sections of Klal Yisroel.
Nachman and Esty realized that this tidal wave of compassion could be channeled to benefit Leiby’s neshama and other Jews as well. That is why Nachman Kletsky stood up at the end of Shiva and announced, “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. Our family wishes to establish the LEIBY KLETZKY MEMORIAL FUND to perpetuate the memory of our dear Leiby and to keep him alive in our hearts and minds. This fund would help anguished families in crisis and need, 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, helping my fellow man”.
Yet even Nachman and Esty could not have predicted the magnitude of response. In addition to donating, people have begun inviting their friends to participate through Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, email, and other social media. One person inspired over 600 visitors to not only contribute to the Leiby Kletzky Memorial Fund, but to invite their friends, as well. That help will be needed to reach the goal of one million dollars in three months. To facilitate the effort, they have established the fund under a recognized 5013c IRS tax exempt non-profit organization, Khal Lev Echad. They have also asked their Rov, Rabbi Binyomin Eisenberger shlit”a to administer the funds.
Leiby Kletzky missed out on a lot of things in life – his bar mitzvah, his wedding, children, holidays, and many, many family and community simchos and milestones. The Leiby Kletzky Memorial Fund will help ensure that those in need do not have to miss out as well. Instead, they will be able to celebrate with dignity and gratitude – just as Leiby would have wanted.
Anyone wishing to donate can visit www.LeibyKletzkyMemorialFund.com or send their check to the Leiby Kletzky Memorial Fund, c/o Rabbi Binyamin Eisenberger, 1448 56th Street, Brooklyn, New York 11219.