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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Jeff Jacoby writes publicly about his son's disappearance

It's been a couple of weeks since 16-year old Caleb Jacoby, disappeared from his Boston home, and was found a few days later in New York. On Wednesday, I think for the first time, Caleb's father, Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby, writes about his son's disappearance and recover (Hat Tip: NY Nana).
After more than 25 years of working for newspapers, I figured I knew something about stories that grab public attention. But the intensity of interest in my son’s disappearance was extraordinary. Of course some of that was due to the public following that comes with a regular byline in the Boston Globe. But I wasn’t prepared for the way the news erupted, especially on social media, or how it radiated outward in wider and wider spheres of compassion and concern.
It astonished the police, too. “You have an amazing community here,” the detectives working on the case told us more than once. Tips, queries, and offers of help surged into the Brookline police station. Maimonides, the Modern Orthodox Jewish day school where Caleb is an 11th-grader, coordinated a local search effort involving more than 200 volunteers. But offers of aid came pouring in from strangers in other states and countries, many of whom were prepared to drop everything and go anywhere they were needed to search for a teen they didn’t know from a city many had never been to. 
The “amazing community” that so impressed the detectives wasn’t just the community of Maimonides school students, administrators, and graduates, who poured heart and soul into finding Caleb. It wasn’t just the broader Jewish community, so often riven by factions and disputes, that momentarily set those differences aside out of concern for a missing boy.
It was more — much more, as I came to understand while trying to make sense of the tide of kindness, empathy, and worry that helped keep my family afloat during those agonizing days.
Like the interlocking circles of a Venn diagram, our “amazing community” is really many communities with one family common to all of them. We were embraced and helped and prayed for by people who are connected to us through our son’s school or our local synagogue — as well as by others with different connections: residents of Brookline, my colleagues at the Boston Globe, companies my wife has worked for, readers (by no means all fans) of my column, fellow media people, our younger child’s school, charities we support, causes we’ve been involved in, people who know Caleb’s far-flung aunts, uncles, and grandparents.
And above and beyond them all, the “amazing community” of parents who have been through their own stresses and storms, and who know from experience that no family is immune to them.
 Read it all. I hope that from here on out, the Jacoby family will only find happiness together.



At 2:08 AM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...

Carl, thank you for the hat tip! Just seeing the look on Jeff Jacoby's face had me in tears. Thank G-d all is well!I can only guess how Jeff Jacoby and his wife felt until
Caleb came home from NY!


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