Jeff Jacoby Breaks Silence on Teenage Son Caleb Jacoby's Disappearance

Describes Panic — and Thanks Community for Search Help


By Anne Cohen

Published January 22, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Jeff Jacoby, the Jewish Boston Globe columnist whose 16-year-old son Caleb went missing for four days in early January, has finally broken his silence.

In his latest column, Jeff Jacoby described his panic and anxiety upon discovering that his child was missing.

”What are you supposed to do when your teenager has been gone for hours — six hours, 12 hours, 24 hours — and hasn’t been seen or heard from? When you’ve called in the police and given them all the information you can think of? When you’ve checked your child’s usual haunts and come up dry? When his friends, realizing that something is wrong, are beginning to sound the alarm on Facebook and Google Chat? And when the temperature outside is in the single digits — and falling?”

The columnist said what saved him, and his wife Laura, was the unexpected and heartfelt concern from friends, the Jewish community of Brookline and even complete strangers, who flooded social media with alerts about the missing 11th grader.

“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.”

Maimonides, the Modern Orthodox school in Brookline where Caleb is a student, spearheaded a coordinated search effort involving almost 200 volunteers. Caleb was found on Thursday, January 9, in Times Square in New York City.

The reasons for his disappearance are still unknown, though Brookline police confirmed that the teenager ran away from home, and have ended their investigation.

Jacoby concluded by thanking all those who helped in the search, acknowledging that concern for his son had transcended political allegiances.

“During the worst ordeal of our lives, my family experienced the best that human beings are capable of,” he wrote. “That was a blessing I’ll never forget, or ever cease being grateful for.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.