NEW YORK (VINnews/Sandy Eller) – Still reeling from the shock of the murderous Jersey City rampage that took the lives of a young mother, a yeshiva student, employee at a kosher grocery and a veteran police officer, members of the Jewish community banded together, raising nearly $50,000 in less than a day for the family of the slain detective.
40 year old Detective Joseph Seals was gunned down by David Anderson and Francine Graham just moments before the two began their deadly four hour long standoff at the Jersey City Kosher Market.
A Chesed Fund campaign to benefit his widow, Laura, and their five orphaned children was launched on December 11th on The Chesed Fund platform, with contributions pouring in from as far away as Canada, Europe and Israel.
1417 people participated in the fundraiser in a show of support and gratitude for law enforcement, giving anywhere from just a few dollars to as much as $1,000.
Many of the contributions contained messages of support for law enforcement and the Seals’ survivors, including one from the Teitelbaum family that read, “You are in our hearts from afar in UK. We will never forget the heroism of your brave husband and father.”
One anonymous donation was accompanied by a message telling the Seals children, “Your father is a hero to tens of thousands,” while a contribution from Flatbush resident Aaron Tessler was accompanied by the words, “In everlasting admiration and appreciation for Det. Seals, by a stranger, a proud Orthodox Jew, and a proud American.”
The $48,239.31 raised was nearly double its original goal of $25,000. Chaskel Bennett, one of several who organized the campaign, said that the Jewish community’s tremendous outpouring of support came as no surprise, especially in light of the ever growing number of anti-Semitic attacks that have left many on edge.
“This has been going on non-stop for months,” Bennett told VIN News. “Pohway, Pittsburgh, physical assaults, egg throwing, rock throwing, vandalism, swastikas – all of the things that we have been experiencing individually and collectively have people unsure of what tomorrow may bring. People are looking for a positive way to channel the fear and uncertainty that they feel and to show solidarity with those in bullet proof vests who go out into the line of fire for us.”
Bennett credited law enforcement for their quick response in Jersey City.
“Who knows how much more mayhem and carnage could have happened if not for law enforcement,” wondered Bennett. “Officer Seals’ ultimate sacrifice represents those law enforcement heroes all over the country who secure our shuls, our streets, our yeshivas and our Jewish community centers, who patrol, launch investigations and are there for us every single day. When they lose one of their own, we felt that it was important for us as the Orthodox Jewish community to demonstrate that their loss affects us as well. The police are always there for us; it is important for us to be there for them during their hour of need. They see it.”
Details of how and when the funds collected in the campaign will be presented to the family will be announced in the coming days.
“It was a real testament of the care and concern from the Orthodox Jewish community to come together and show our appreciation to all those that serve,” said The Chesed Fund founder and CEO Avi Kehat. “We have been honored to have the merit of hosting this fund.”
The campaign came as welcome news to Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association spokesman Steve Lenox who is running the official memorial fund that will be used to cover the family’s housing and education costs as well as other expenses.
“It was a devastating day for Jersey City and for the entire country,” said Lenox. “We greatly appreciate the efforts of the Jewish community which also suffered a great loss on Tuesday. When one community suffers, we all suffer and we all have to stand together and support each other.”
Seals, who grew up in Bayonne, was remembered as a “cop’s cop,” who was first and foremost, a family man, reported Fox News (https://fxn.ws/2RNLy0y). Seals had recently hired “princesses” to mingle with the guests at his four year old daughter’s royal-themed birthday party in November, telling his mother that he was willing to work double shifts to ensure that the celebration was one that she would long remember.
In an August 5th Facebook post, Seals displayed a picture of an inexpensive, home-made door lock that could be used to keep students safe during an active shooter situation, describing the cable and hook device as “simple and inexpensive.” Emotional comments were added to the post after the shooting including one that read, “An unimaginable loss, but it’s heroes like Detective Seals who pave the way for all of us. The legacy of your duty and selflessness live on.”