Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Brutal murder of Brooklyn Hasidic boy last month put to music 

New York - Brooklyn's Hasidic community and the entire city is reeling from the brutal death last month of an 8-year old boy. Leiby Kletzky was snatched from the street, drugged, dismembered, his feet found in the freezer of accused butcher Levi Aron.

Now, a number of Hasidic singers are releasing tribute songs in the form of music videos to the slain boy. The New York Daily News reports that singer Lipa Schmeltzer, also known as the "Jewish Elvis" is first in line, with his seven-minute piece called, "Leiby Forever".

New York City's medical examiner's office said last month that Leiby died of acute intoxication from a mixture of Tylenol and prescription drugs - a painkiller, a muscle relaxer, an anti-psychotic, and Cymbalta, used for depression.

Levi Aron, himself an Orthodox Jew confessed to the crime at his arraignment last week, and has now been moved from Bellevue Hospital to Rikers Island prison, where he is on a round the-clock suicide watch with a correction officer watching his every move.

After he was arrested on July 13, Aron told detectives he had heard voices telling him to commit suicide because of his crime. He underwent a mental health exam while at Bellevue, and was declared fit to stand trial, but his lawyer contends he struggles with mental health problems.

When Aron arrived at the jail, his fellow inmates heckled him as he walked by.
The opening scene of the video shows Leiby walking down 44th St. in Borough Park as Schmeltzer sings:

"A boy was heading home in the afternoon. When he reached his home in heaven, he arrived there all too soon."

This is followed by a montage of Leiby's short life, as a toddler downing an ice cream cone, and in December, lighting Chanukah candles on his synagogue's menorah.
But not everyone believes that it's a good idea to create songs and make money from the untimely brutal murder of a young boy. Binyomin Ginzberg, writing in a Forward blog asks the question

"Are Hasidic Singers Exploiting Leiby Kletzky's Death?"

Ginzberg writes that singing artists are engaging in a

"total lack of sensitivity regarding what kind of public reaction (to Lieby's death) is or isn't appropriate."

He points out that the video by singer Lipa Scmeltzer may have the right intentions, its timing reeks of self-promotion.
And he's not the only singer. “Shauli” released a song today named, “Feelings” on his Facebook page that includes the lyrics,

“His angels will hold you in their arms so that you won’t be hurt anymore.”

The spectacle of artists rushing to be the first to capitalize on a tragedy by releasing a new song dedicated to the victim is disturbing. To me, it feels as though they are exploiting both genuine sympathy as well as the voyeuristic tendencies of people following the story.
Ginzberg points out that

The same thing happened after the 2008 terror attack in Mumbai, in which Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, the directors of Chabad-Lubavitch of Mumbai, were killed. Shortly afterward, Schmeltzer released “Letter to Moishele,” a song addressed to their toddler son, Moshe, who survived the attack. Several other religious artists released songs as well, including Yossi Green’s “Shir Hashluchim.”


I think that this "tribute" is tacky. The family should have peace. Leave the Kletskys alone, please. Too much hooplah, too much armchair CSIing.


"Levi Aron, himself an Orthodox Jew"
Besides the fact that he had gone off the derech anyway by his own admission, last time I checked Orthodox Jews don't do the type of things he did. They are against the 3 cardinal sins of the Torah...


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