The Case of Leiby Kletzky

Friday, July 15, 2011

David Greenfield, New York City Councilman (D-44) representing Bensonhurst, Midwood and Borough Park, and WNYC reporter Fred Mogul discuss the community's reaction to the murder of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky.


David Greenfield and Fred Mogul

Comments [25]

yonina from Queeens

This conversation is not based on the grisly murder of Leibi. How did we get to talking about who uses welfare??

What happened to this boy is not worthy of your attention for more than a moment - you're up to demography?

Jul. 16 2011 07:02 PM

Aaron, I would like to add to your thoughts about all the positive things that could have been reflected in relation to this tragedy. The extremely organized, huge and professional search that was facilitated by Shomrim and the thousands of volunteers, my husband and son in law included. I would like to see more details about that. The first person to think of checking surveillance cameras along the route was a simple Hasidic community member, and he alerted the police to spotting Leiby. Another Hasidic young man, a locksmith, thought to check his camera, and found the second clip of Leiby which led the police to the actual scene of the abduction.
Yes, our community is very self reliant, dedicated, and we take care of each other, in many ways. That does not negate the fact that we are also reliant on our government, and appreciative of living in America, benefiting from the freedom, tolerance and yes, often the social safety net, that makes this country great.
And if there are communities who have not been allowed to set up their own patrols, that is wrong, and there should be aggressive action taken to correct that.

Jul. 15 2011 03:18 PM

btw-other communities try to set up their own policing patrols, and are not allowed to do so. however one feels about these patrols,one thing is for certain,not everyone is allowed to have one.

Jul. 15 2011 01:29 PM

not to sound hateful,but the so called "self-reliance", scenario, is not completely true. there are a number of people, who, do indeed, get public assitance in these orthodox comunities. but, it is not talked about, the media leaves it alone. i don't begrudge anyone getting public assistance, but please,let us get off this self reliance fantasy,in the jewish orthodox communities.

Jul. 15 2011 01:10 PM
Aaron from Boro Park

Greenfield did good job on the air… and the Muslim that called in at the end was terrific… out of all the news media outlets in New York City including TV, Radio and Print the only station that did NOT show-up in Boro Park all Tuesday is WNYC New York Public Radio. It is only after he died and was killed by a Jew that they decided to cover the story. and the main thing they keep on talking about is "how the God they believe in and pray for could do something like this to them" I heard it over and over again all Wednesday. I am a big fan of the station and they said nothing wrong in the actual reporting but the idea that the only thing of interest to them is why we still have faith in God and how we deal with it is kind of appalling to me. Not the missing boy, Not the volunteer search, Not the tragic death was really reported by them the story started only after the death and mostly discussing how they deal with God. againg I am a big fan of the station but the way they treated this story is very conserning to me.

Jul. 15 2011 12:55 PM

(I do agree w the commenter bf who points out that it is outrageous that commenters can be relied on to exploit any segment relating to Jews and Hasidic Jews to promote bigoted or anti-Jewish/religious ideas. I will admit I am so accustomed to this on these pages that my eyes just skip over them. But obviously if they were about another group, Muslim, Black, etc., such comments would also probably fall into the purview of an ombudsman or editor or commenter outrage.)

Jul. 15 2011 11:44 AM

nancy -- don't understand your point?

do you mean how the guest host literally wrapped up the segment with the guest's scolding of her for having aired the segment in the first place -- without even thanking the guests or referring to that challenging comment? a brief segment at the end of today's show, perhaps with the ombudsman, general news manager, or Brian Lehrer, referring to this incident, would clear this up. Little else.

Jul. 15 2011 11:35 AM

As a member of the Hasidic community I applaud the comments of people, who like myself, are distressed about the biased attitudes in regards community whom they consider other re: the hostile and judgmental implication of the word "medieval". This biased attitude, and the use of the word "they" is exactly the attitude that those same people are attributing to the Hasidic community.
Each community is insular in its own particular way, as is evident in some of the comments above and we all need to examine ourselves for racist, bigoted and biased attitudes.

Jul. 15 2011 11:31 AM

Superf88 is apparently not aware of strict time constraints on radio time, or is perhaps creating an issue where there isn't one.

Jul. 15 2011 11:23 AM

I was gratified to hear David Greenfield mention the fact that Borough Park is primarily a community of Holocaust survivors and their descendants. He was inaccurate in his statement that Jews had it "good" in Poland for a thousand years.
The fact that the community does harbor a mistrust of non-Jews is no surprise, based on the long history of anti-semitism it has faced. It does not however, excuse the naive belief that religious Jews are less likely to commit crimes.
That belief is dangerous, and it is true that there has been a deep rooted problem of pushing problems under the rug, particularly in regards to pedophelia that exists in the community.
As Fred says, the process has been slow, but the opening up is happening, especially recently.
My childrens' pediatrician has given lectures to parents about this very issue, so that they can educate their children about the dangers within and outside of the community. She has been doing this for at least 20 years.
These issues are vital and hopefully this tragedy will speed up the process of changing attitudes and policies within the community.
I, and many other Hasidic parents that I know, have long been aware of how important it is to educate our kids and to teach them not to trust someone just because he looks like us.
Though questions about how we handle crime within the community, and our attitudes towards "outsiders" are legitimate, there is
no excuse for the tone of hostility and bias towards my community that I have sensed in comments on this page and many others as I peruse news articles about Leiby's murder.

Jul. 15 2011 11:18 AM
Victoria Nunez from The Bronx!

Across the city and I’m sure across our nation, women, men, families, are heartbroken about the murder of Lieby. Thanks to Councilman Greenfield for speaking about the Borough Park community. My question: in a community that emphasizes self-reliance, are children being taught and trained how to survive on the streets? Are parents being taught, you are taking a risk anytime you leave children under a certain age without adult supervision (you could say under 12, under 11…). In the U.S., children are vulnerable and they need to be watched over by adults. On a slightly different issue, the practice of older children watching younger children needs to be scrutinized. Keeping children safe requires judgment skills, and that’s what children and youth frequently lack, or it’s still developing. Children should be told: if you are lost you go into a business and ask someone who is working there to call the police; or your local community patrol, or your mom or dad. Parents need guidelines from the community groups/service organizations that tell them: it is appropriate for a 13 year old to watch (1,2) children at most. We need to develop more intolerance for crimes against children and more strategies to keep kids safe. More public education is needed on this topic.

Jul. 15 2011 11:08 AM
Sharon from Manhattan

I'm a secular Jew who agrees with Mohammed's comment about the disrespectfulness of probing the insularity and "otherness" of the Borough Park community on a day of shiva for the brutal murder of a young boy. Could you have waited a few days to broaden out the perpectives on this gruesome story?

Jul. 15 2011 11:00 AM
Jessica from Jersey City, NJ

I found the premise of this segment upsetting and unsettling. I was expecting an informative story about how this insular community is handling such a public and shocking event; what I received was a condemnation of the community as a whole. There is a time and place to examine a community's role and cultural practices under the lens of a crime. That time was not during the shiva of a horribly brutalized little boy. By discussing the past sexual abuses and hickhiking practices of the community this became nothing better than blaming the victim.

Jul. 15 2011 10:57 AM

You end the interview abruptly because some caller asserts that it is not the "right day" to talk about a news story?? Is "Mohammed from Jersey City" your editor now?

There is so much shame to go around on that call -- host, guests, producers -- that even spreads over to us listeners. It is appropriate for Ms. Eddings and the management to address this directly, and for the namesake of the show to defend its integrity here. Just mortifying. (Though an instant WNYC classic!)

Jul. 15 2011 10:55 AM
Lisa from New York NY

Perhaps this event will force some fresh air into the festering, insular, medieval community of the ultra-orthodox. Tight-knit, self-reliant = dirty secrets stay hidden.

And I agree with the earlier posters: the community in Borough Park, Monsey, New Square, etc., are anything but "self-reliant." No other community in New York state relies on government money more than they do.

Jul. 15 2011 10:46 AM
MP from Brooklyn

D, I could not agree more. Parents should, of course, remain hyper-vigilant, but they need to filter the information to their children in ways that do not terrify them - not an easy tightrope to walk, but an important one.

Jul. 15 2011 10:45 AM

This man just said that the police can only act when they have "proof". That's wrong. They act when they have a "complaint". People in these closed neighborhoods are afraid to complain, and so pedaphiles are safe there.

Jul. 15 2011 10:45 AM
D from Brooklyn

It's really important that the kids, especially the kids who knew Leiby and who are his age, are told how rare this is. They are (obviously) going to be terrified, and it will be helpful to be told that most people are good and that it's very unlikely that this will happen. I was in Adam Walsh's class and it was so terrifying at age 7 to think that when I walked down the street someone was going to take me. I was under the impression that any car that drove by could grab me and that this was something that could happen to me at any time. When someone told me (many months later!) that it is actually only very rare, it eased my mind tremendously.

Jul. 15 2011 10:43 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

As one who went to Yeshiva as a kid in Brooklyn, and also lived in Israel for a decade where my ex-wife was a social worker in the Israeli prison system, I can assure everyone that Jews are equally as capable of the worst form of criminality imaginable as any other ethnicity, race or religion.
No more and no less. No one should be particularly shocked that this happens in a so-called "ultraorthodox" Jewish communities, any more so than if it happens in a Baptist Black neighborhood, or an Irish Catholic neighborhood, or any other kind of neighborhood for that matter.

Jul. 15 2011 10:42 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

I'm disappointed too that people in the orthodox community are "shocked" that there are sexual/violent deviants amongst them. What are they implying about the rest of us?

Jul. 15 2011 10:42 AM
Leah from Brooklyn

The accused killer is reportedly mentally ill. Can the guest speak to the community's role in addressing mental illness among its members?

Jul. 15 2011 10:42 AM
Mr. Bad from IL

I don't know what this has to do with the boys death but when the guest described the ultra-orthodox as wholly "self-sufficient" I had to stifle a laugh. As a percentage of population (not sheer numbers) I doubt if ANY other ethnic/religious group takes more welfare and city services.

Jul. 15 2011 10:41 AM

self-reliant? Aren’t they mostly on welfare?

Jul. 15 2011 10:41 AM
MP from Brooklyn

Dara, I think the shock is less about the religious affiliation of the Hasidic community and more about their sense of insularity and difference from the rest of their surrounding community, which has given them a false sense of security.

Jul. 15 2011 10:38 AM
Dara from Manhattan

I'm disappointed with the premise of your interview: that a religious community might be more shocked than any other if "religious" people are more righteous than others.

Jul. 15 2011 10:36 AM

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