Yanky looks just like his Tatty. Dark peyos frame his round 7-year-old face. Big brown eyes and long eyelashes sparkle as he smiles a toothy grin. His whole life the first grader has been proud to look like the Tatty that the whole community knows and loves for his work mentoring bochurim and his warm, caring nature. The Tatty who took him on “fun trips” and carried him on his shoulders. From this week and for the rest of his life, however, looking like his Tatty will be a heavy burden, and a painful reminder.
Last Friday morning, 32-year-old Levi Poryes passed away suddenly from cardiac arrest. The Beitar community was shocked: As far as anyone had known, he was a healthy young man. In a devastating video, 7-year-old Yanky and 9-year-old Libi recall the moment ambulances took their father away. The children prayed for their Tatty’s recovery as doctors fought to revive him in the hospital.
Their Father in Heaven, however, would not answer their prayers this time. Their Father in this world, was gone.
The Poryes family has been left absolutely reeling. Students, family members, and neighbors gathered at the funeral to weep over the shrouded body of the father lost so tragically young. 7-year-old Yanky tore kriah and said kaddish at the front of the crowd. The look in his eyes left those present with the impression that he did not fully understand what was happening.
A memorial fund has been opened, with the urgent goal of raising funds to help the Poryes children survive. Their father ad been their supporter, and without him, their future is uncertain. In the words of the fund, “They will never recover from this – no one will ever be able to give them Tatty back – but we can at least make sure that they will not struggle or go without what they need.”