By Larry Gordon –
The news of the murder of Menachem Stark traveled quickly with a ripple effect through the community last Friday afternoon. All his family knew was that he did not come home Thursday night as a snow storm visited upon and blanketed New York along with several surrounding states.
It was already Shabbos when the body of the deceased Mr. Stark was discovered by the police and fire department in a dumpster in Great Neck on Long Island. Realizing that the victim was a Chassidic Jew the Nassau County police brass reached out to their Jewish community liaison, Alex Wercberger a local 5 Towns personality, member of Hatzoloh with excellent police contact . Alex was already observing Shabbos at a Kids of Courage weekend retreat/Shabbaton in Springfield, Massachusetts when police were attempting to reach him.
This was of course a brutal and shocking murder additionally complicated by the arrival of Shabbos and the lack of availability of key people in the community, that is unless it is deemed by a halachic authorities to be a matter that suspends the laws of Shabbos. How and under what circumstances that happens requires a long and complicated dissertation in Jewish law.
Considering these limitations as well as the matter of the emergency at hand Wercberger swung into action with the assistance of non-Jews at the hotel who did the dialing on his phone ( as directed by the Rabbi’s) as he reached out to his contacts and bring them up to speed and what we were dealing with here.
Menachem Stark, a Williamsburg resident was tortured and then murdered by those who abducted him late Thursday night as he exited his office in Williamsburg in Brooklyn. As the discovery was made and events were unfolding quickly and one becomes aware with the reality at hand the approach instantly switches modes. Once those involved learned that it was most likely that Mr. Stark was no longer alive the priority becomes respect for the person (the deceased) and the dignity of his family.
In this case the tragedy is an amplified one as it involves the most horrible of crimes and the creation of a new widow and seven new orphans, one that is under the age of 2-years. The tragedy rips through the Jewish community and indeed all decent people and their communities as we learn some of the details, the abandonment of any civility along with the perpetration of a craven and vicious crime.
In the meantime Alex and his associates along with his contact on the ground in Willaimsburgh worked the phones through Friday night and then over most of the next day, Shabbos. He explains that two priorities are immediately addressed, that is limiting the damage done to the body by an autopsy that is imperative due to the nature of the events and then …read more
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