Monday, July 23rd | 11 Av 5778

January 5, 2014 9:33 pm

My Brother-in-Law Menachem Stark Leaves Seven Children and a Wife Who Miss Him

avatar by Abraham Buxbaum

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A recent Stark family portrait. Photo: Stark family.

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. Indeed, with that as we have seen throughout history, 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 father’s 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 the 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 were told about a man no longer able to defend himself, against a family who doesn’t deal with the outside world. Indeed, we cannot even repeat the words of their headline. We miss him and love him and our hearts ache.

Despite media allegations and innuendos, Menachem Stark was never arrested, and was never charged with any wrongdoing. While he had some business difficulties in the last few years, these last few years in the real estate market have been tremendously challenging for so many Americans. No one in the media spoke to the many tenants who will sing his praises.

Media implications that murdering a landlord is acceptable, are horrific. What happens if the next victim is a Jewish lawyer or doctor? 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.

The old adage that ” there are two sides to every story” clearly doesn’t apply when it comes to a Jew wearing Chasidic garb. There are Jewish orphans throughout history who have seen their fathers killed with impunity. The media has sent the message that Jewish blood is cheap.

As we sit Shiva, in mourning, we sit in more pain due to the hateful newspaper headlines. 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 encouraged anti-Semitism and violence, and hurt us tremendously.

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.)

Abraham Buxbaum is married to Menachem Stark’s older sister. They were friends, and spoke multiple times a day.

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  • Stephanie

    From what I understand he was a parasite and a slum lord. I feel bad for his wife and kids, not him.

    • Hadassa

      Stephanie, how dare you. Did you know this man? Do you really trust the media so blindly that you are willing to believe whatever they say? Could you really be so heartless as to think that this man deserved his fate? I sincerely hope that you regret what you wrote, if not now, then sometime in your life.

  • Shira

    Whether or not the allegations against Menachem a”h are true, nothing could ever justify his murder.

  • To the grieving family I send my heartfelt condolences
    Manachem lived as a person who loved HaShem and brought his family up to honour G-D.
    He died Kedush HaShem by simply being Jewish and by the hand of Jew haters.
    They will be dealt with in time.
    Regarding the NY Times they should be ashamed of not doing their job properly but as someone pointed out they are
    anti-Semite’s so they are biased in their opinions.

    I am a Non-Jew known as a Noachide and not all gentiles are Anti-Semitic!

  • Leonard Oberstein

    The murder is a tragedy and his wife and children are left bereft. Satmar is known for its chesed and care for other people, I am sure the community will come together to help this poor family.
    I do have one comment however, we live in a free country and not everything should be tied back to the mentality of the old country.Yes, the NY Post is a sensatialist tabloid but it is not Der Shtermer of Hitler and not everyone who finds fault with Jews is a Nazi. We have to get over this complex. say good bye to Romania and become American Jews, not aliens in a land that is full of evildoers. The NY Post is stupid but America is a good country.

  • Victoriya K

    Sorry to hear about this sad loss. Barukh Dayan Haemet! May Hashem be with family.

  • I am moved to tears by this senseless and brutal loss. Having lost my father at a young age, I feel this family’s pain. May Hashem comfort their broken hearts.

  • Harvey

    An anti Israel paper seamlessly crossing the boundary into overt racist antisemitism .

  • vivi

    Baroukh Dayan Haemet

  • Miriam

    Friday morning my school whatsapp chat was very busy. I kept on getting beeps about this scary story of a father being kidnapped, what can be the story, and many speculations. As young Jewish teens, we all felt the suspense and anxiousness of the family. Girls were crying, we were all davening.
    Motzei shbbs, i opened my phone to hear the devastating news. It was tragic. We were all traumatized. It is now Sunday night, and our school chat, which is usually full of hpolitics, funny stuff and other nonsense, is all only about the Stark family. Although our school is of a completely different type of community of Mr. Stark, we are ALL in mourning

  • Deepest condolences to the family and friends of Menachem Stark ז״ל

  • People keep saying – his family wants him alive. I am not his family – and I want him alive!

    I do not know if Menachem Stark made mistakes under financial pressure. But even people who are not honest in their financial dealings – that would not make them so that ‘everyone’ does not want to them alive. Since Menachem Stark was not taken to court, I like to believe he was clean. He provided housing for people who were not welcome other places. It is not easy to provide for those kinds of people.

    Today the politician called for an apology from the NYPost. I am sure it will be forthcoming. But it will never undo the damage. Once something is printed and circulated, you cannot reach everyone who has seen it and you cannot undo the impression that such a cover has made in the minds of the millions of people who saw it. The apology has to be made, but it should not be considered a reversal. NYPost will still be guilty.

    I looked for a copy later this afternoon. It took me a few places until I found one. The places I went had plenty of other papers but no NYPost. Even the store where I found it – the space for NYPost was empty, but as I flipped through other papers I found one copy. I went to the checkout. I also bought groceries. The young man at the checkout was ringing in my purchases and I was bagging. He got to the NYPost and put it in a bag. It was the only thing he bagged. It was too upsetting for him to look at. He was not Jewish. No one in the store was Jewish, it was far from a Jewish neighborhood. But the young man at the cash could not look at the cover picture and headline.

    It is not just Jews who find the NYPost to be vile. All decent people have been offended.

    The apology will not erase the damage. If the NYPost will fire everyone involved with the cover – and the pictures of all those fired go on the cover of the NYPost – then the apology can be considered to be valid.

    • Degel


    • Dov

      The apology will never come. Don’t you understand? The NY Post is run by a bunch of anti-Semite’s. If they would have come out against an African American, yes they would have said sorry, but not against Jews. They hate Jews.

    • Moe

      Well said, Aliza!

  • Stuart Handelsman

    Excellent comments

    • KaCol

      Totally agree with the above comment. Truly tragic for the Post to write this about a person who was never even involved in a court case.