'Jewish Elvis' plans tribute to murdered Brooklyn boy

By Jennifer Lipman, July 18, 2011
Leiby Kletzky

Leiby Kletzky

A Chasidic singer described as the Jewish world's answer to Elvis Presley is working on a tribute to the eight-year-old boy murdered in Brooklyn last week.

The family of Leiby Kletzky are currently sitting shiva for the boy, whose dismembered body was found after 2,000 people joined a search for him. A man called Levi Aron was arrested in connection with Leiby's death.

Musician Lipa Schmeltzer decided to honour the "special holy boy" by composing a tribute song. Mr Schmeltzer, who also recorded a song for the orphaned son of the Chabad emissaries killed in the Mumbai terror attack, was in Uman, Ukraine, when Leiby went missing.

On his return he joined the search, and said he was distraught and unable to function when he heard the "unspeakable news".

"Nobody ever thought that we would be facing a tragedy of such epic proportions," said Mr Schmeltzer, who has recorded ten albums and is immensely popular in the US Orthodox Jewish community.

"It was worse than anyone could have ever imagined. As the news continued to come in, our shock and horror were beyond words. His death. How he died. Where. And by who."

Aron, who confessed to the crime when he was first questioned by police, has pleaded not guilty. He was given a psychiatric evaluation this weekend, after his lawyer revealed that he was hearing voices.

Last updated: 11:08am, July 22 2011