Brooklyn’s Orthodox community is mourning the apparent suicide of 22-year-old construction worker Yakov Krausz, whose body was discovered Wednesday in an elevator motor room, the Daily News reported.
His death marks at least the 26th suicide of a young adult in New York-area Orthodox community over the past ten months, according to Zvi Gluck, founder and director of the Orthodox social service group Amudim.
The Daily News reported that Krausz suffered from depression.
“I am completely out of words right now,” wrote activist Boorey Deutsch, a relative of Krausz, in a public Facebook post.
As news of Krausz’s death spread, friends circulated a parody version LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” created for Krausz’s 2013 wedding.
Amudim’s Gluck, who has been tracking suicides among men and women under the age of 35 in the Orthodox community in the New York area since last Rosh Hashanah, said that the Orthodox community needs to cultivate greater awareness of mental health issues.
“Once we can, as a community, accept that mental illness, sex abuse and addiction is as big a problem as it is, we can create programming to provide services,” Gluck said. “We have to acknowledge that this is a problem that exists.”
Krausz’s suicide comes just weeks after Rebecca Wassertrum, 28, died after jumping off of the George Washington Bridge. That followed the July 2015 suicide of ex-Orthodox coder Faigy Mayer and the November 2015 suicide of Mayer’s sister, Sarah Mayer.
Gluck said that, until recently, any death of a young person was blamed on an “aneurysm.”
“It’s the shame factor that’s killing the next generation,” Gluck said. “That’s what we’re trying to take away.”
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Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.