The official mourning period for 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky has ended, but of course his parents’ grief will not subside for years to come. Leiby’s parents have released a beautiful statement thanking the public and asking each of us to do a good deed in his honor. As I was driving around Brooklyn this morning, I saw a giant RV, emblazoned with the words “Mitzvah Tank,” and I thought about Leiby. I thought about just how easy it is for each of us to make the small sacrifices and commitments that could change the world the way Leiby’s parents hope we will.
Think of it: a “Mitzvah Tank,” using the words of war to build peace. A tank that is filled with goodwill and covered in images of charity, kindness and understanding. It’s a beautiful sentiment. And a reminder that doing something as seemingly insignificant as throwing your change in a charity box as you shop won’t make much of a difference to your bottom line, but it could go a long way to help a child or family in need.
The Kletzky family also suggest we honor their son’s memory by showing gratitude through prayer or by participating in holy rituals (like the lighting of the candles on Shabbat, or if you’re not Jewish, you might light a candle in a church or your home). Additionally, if you’d like to make a financial donation in Leiby’s memory, you can visit The Leiby Kletzky Memorial Fund, the tagline for which is “Coping With Grief by Doing Good.” You can also leave messages of sympathy for Leiby’s family at the site, which has already raised nearly $250,000 for charity.