Missing Jewish teen reportedly spotted in Providence

Missing Jewish teen reportedly spotted in Providence

Caleb Jacoby, 16-year-old son of Boston Globe columnist, has been missing since Monday, sparking a community-wide search

Renee Ghert-Zand is a reporter and feature writer for The Times of Israel.

16-year-old Caleb Jacoby, who has been found after having gone missing on January 6. (photo credit: Courtesy of Brookline Police Department)
16-year-old Caleb Jacoby, who has been found after having gone missing on January 6. (photo credit: Courtesy of Brookline Police Department)

Missing Jewish Brookline, Massachusetts, teen Caleb Jacoby may have been spotted in Providence, Rhode Island, on the evening of January 7, according to preliminary reports.

ABC6 in Providence reported Wednesday afternoon that there have been “several reports” placing the teen in Providence on Tuesday evening. No further details were reported

Police believe Caleb, an 11th-grader at the Maimonides School in suburban Boston, may be a runaway.

Two days after he left his Brookline home, 16-year-old Jewish day school student Jacoby is still officially missing. Support for the search for Jacoby, the son of Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby, has poured in from the Boston area Jewish community and beyond since he disappeared some time around 12:30 p.m. on January 6.

“Thank you to the hundreds of people who have shared our post, put up flyers and lent their support to help locate Caleb…We appreciate all your efforts!” the father tweeted on Tuesday night.

“He was not in school on January 6, which was the first day back to school after winter vacation,” Ellen Pulda, development and public relations officer for the Maimonides School, told The Times of Israel.

An official statement issued by Head of School Naty Katz confirms that Jacoby did not disappear from school. “Caleb Jacoby, an 11th grade student at Maimonides School, has been missing from home since Monday,” he said.

The school, with the help of Boston’s Combined Jewish Philanthropies, has coordinated a search effort of more than 200 volunteers in the metro Boston area and is engaging all of its resources to aid Jacoby’s parents and the Brookline police. Those unable or too far away to participate in the physical searches are assisting by flooding social media networks with posters and notifications about Jacoby’s disappearance.

MassLive.com quoted Brookline Police Captain Thomas Keaveney as saying on Wednesday that the police had no reason to believe there has been any foul play involved in Jacoby’s disappearance. “We’re leaning more toward a runaway, but we can’t be sure,” Keaveney was reported as saying.

Friends who have come out to help with the search are doubtful of the police’s theory. Calling Jacoby “a quiet boy” and a “good boy,” Yishai Admanit, who knows him from Young Israel of Brookline, a local synagogue, told MassLive.com he doesn’t believe Jacoby is a runaway.

“He’s not just a boy that would run away from home. It’s not a reasonable option,” Admanit said.

Social media messages have been urging people to recite psalms, and a prayer vigil was held Tuesday night at Young Israel.

“Caleb is undoubtedly living his own nightmare, being away from his mother, father and younger brother Micah, the people of his world who love him beyond words. His current circumstance may also be beyond his abilities to manage… B’ezras HaShem we will find him very soon, healthy and well,” wrote Rabbi Gershon C. Gewirtz in an email to the congregation.

Members of the Jacoby family are arriving from outside Boston to be with the boy’s parents and younger brother. Jewish educator Debby Jacoby, a sister of Jeff Jacoby, flew in from San Francisco this morning, but declined to comment publicly on the situation.

Followers of Jeff Jacoby’s column are familiar with his son from the “Letters to Caleb” columns he wrote for many years around the boy’s birthday. In one written in April 2009, the father asks his soon-to-be bar mitzvah son which of the Hagaddah’s Four Sons he is like.

“This night is indeed different from all other nights: It marks your last Passover as a child. By next year’s Seder, you will be a bar mitzvah — an adult, in Jewish law. The years are racing by, and you are coming into your own,” Jacoby wrote to his son.

Jacoby, who often writes about Israel and Jewish subjects, is known for his conservative views. Support for him has come in from fellow right-wing writers like John Podhoretz, and also from those, like Hussein Ibish, who don’t see eye-to-eye with him.

Ibish, a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine tweeted, “Jeff Jacoby is a hateful fanatic, but I very much hope his son is quickly found safe and sound.”

Caleb Jacoby, who is 5’11” and has short light brown hair and a thin build, was last seen wearing navy “chino” pants or jeans, a navy “polo” shirt, a brown winter jacket with hood, brown shoes or sneakers and white socks. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact Brookline Police at 617-730-2222.

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