Op-Ed: Menachem Stark Left 7 Children and a Wife Who Miss Him
The old adage of two sides to every story clearly doesn’t apply when it comes to a Jew wearing hassidic garb.
My brother in law, Menachem Stark was killed this weekend. A 39-year old father of seven, he will be missed by his wife, children, friends, and so many others. He had so much ahead of him and his loss is a tragedy for all of us. He left home Thursday, and simply never returned home.
To our shock and horror, he was kidnapped, his body burnt and dumped in a garbage dumpster. We are in shock, our lives forever changed. And along with that, as we have seen throughout history, there is the simple fact that another Jew has been killed.
My brother-in law and friend Menachem was a great husband and great father. He smiled and was a man who was involved with his children and never missed a chance to spend time with them – and help others in the community. He spent hours weekly with each of his kids, and gave charity.
His children will never again hold their fathers hands, and he will never be able to dance at his children’s weddings. Menachem “Max” was someone who always made the people around him smile, and was so good to so many.
His murder by the men who killed him is a tragedy which will haunt and affect all of us.
He was murdered a second time by The New York Post who ran his picture with a front-page headline “Who didn’t want him dead?” Their sick, despicable and untrue story was character assassination, providing justification for the murder of Menachem. Terrible untruths against a man no longer able to defend himself, against a family who doesn’t deal with the outside world. Indeed, we cannot even bear to repeat the words of their headline. We miss him and love him and our hearts ache.
Despite media allegations and innuendos, Menachem Stark had never been arrested, and never charged with any wrong doing. While he had had some business difficulties in the last few years, these last few years in the real estate market have also been tremendously challenging for so many other Americans. No one in the media spoke to the many tenants who will sing his praises.
Implying that murder is acceptable? What happens if the next victim is a Jewish lawyer or doctor? Jewish lawyers are also hated. Or an accountant when it is tax time?
Menachem was a good man who tried his best – and for us, he was someone we loved. A family member, a father, a brother – not a 'landlord'.
The old adage of two sides to every story clearly doesn’t apply when it comes to a Jew wearing hassidic garb. There are Jewish orphans throughout history who have seen their fathers killed with the perpetrators doing so with impunity. The media has now re-sent the message that Jewish blood is cheap.
As we sit Shiva, the seven days of mourning, we sit in even more pain due to the hateful newspaper headlines. In our society, we don’t read The New York Post or other secular newspapers, and we don’t watch TV. What we do know is that we don’t deserve to have his murder sensationalized at this time of tragedy.
This story encourages anti-Semitism and violence, and hurts us tremendously.
Still, at times like these, we continue to put our full faith in the Almighty, and trust that Menachem’s soul is at peace.
Menachem: We will miss you and we love you. Baruch Dayan Emet (Blessed is the True Judge, the Almighty, the words of faith and acceptance said when hearing of a person's death).
Abraham Buxbaum is married to Menachem Stark’s older sister. They were brothers-in-law, and spoke multiple times a day.