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September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
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Update: Lakewood Confirms Sofer’s Body Was Found in Jerusalem Hills

The body was found among high grass in a hilly area of the Jerusalem Forest near Ein Kerem.
Police forensics at the scene examining body found in the Jerusalem forest Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014.

Police forensics at the scene examining body found in the Jerusalem forest Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014.
Photo Credit: Israel Police

Lakewood, New Jersey officials confirmed on Thursday that the body of missing yeshiva student Aaron Sofer was found in the Jerusalem Hills, apparently the victim of an accidental fall while hiking.

“During the six days there was hope all along until his body was actually found,” said township committeeman Meir Lichtenstein, a friend of the family, according to NJ.com. “Obviously, there was grave concern because it was so long but I think that there was a lot of hope.”

“The silver lining in the cloud is that Aharon’s disappearance and eventually death really united the community, brought a lot of good out in people. And there’s a lot of solace in that,” Lichtenstein added.

Sofer, 23 and who was a student at the Lakewood yeshiva,, will be buried in Israel, the New Jersey website reported.

His body was found around 4 p.m. (9 a.m. EDT) by a member of the Ichud Hatzolah emergency organization, Yisroel Erlich.

The searcher said he came upon “a man’s body among the shrubbery that seemed to match the missing student’s description” after a week of frantic searching by thousands of volunteers.

Police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld, who has not confirmed the identity as of now, said, “It’s not clear how the person died,” Rosenfeld said, in part due to the condition of the body. Experts from the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute were summoned to the scene to examine the body on site in a closed-off area.

Sofer went missing last Friday while hiking in the forest with a friend, after the two took diverging paths heading down a steep incline. Police were notified when the student did not reappear late in the day for preparations just prior to the Sabbath. Sofer learns in a hareidi yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Sofer’s parents and uncle immediately boarded a flight for Israel on Saturday night, and by mid-week had offered a sizeable reward for his return in a video plea for the public’s help, posted on the internet.

In Sofer’s Orthodox Jewish community of Lakewood, prayer vigils were held daily. Local Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) and both US Senators had urged the State Department to shake loose all resources available to help in the search. Both American and Israeli officials said that “no stone was being left unturned.”

About the Author: Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.


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20 Responses to “Update: Lakewood Confirms Sofer’s Body Was Found in Jerusalem Hills”

  1. I hope it s not again ….

  2. Oh no…I don’t know how much more and how much longer!!!

  3. Lisa Neuman says:

    Boruch Dayan HaEmes

  4. Of course, I wouldnt expect murderers not to murder..demons, they are all possessed of evil demons..

  5. Allan Meadow says:

    If this is the work of Hamas, Ceasefire is OVER forever !!!!

  6. News is reporting that sadly… It is the student from nj….

  7. Jerusalem has a forrest? Interesting.

  8. how so you k now? however, allan is a little harsh there with the "forever" comment. gee whiz.

  9. Larry Fleck says:

    What don't you understand about Hamas not wanting peace until all of Israel is Muslim?

  10. Allan Meadow says:

    OK maybe Aaron tripped and hit his head on a rock….I can accept a tragic accident ….IF HAMAS did this NO MERCY !!!

  11. Margreet Dijkstra says:

    Baruch dayan haEmet

  12. Every year, yeshva students with their lack of outdoor knowledge die of dehydration, from falls and drowning. There's no need to hike in the forest during a hot summer day. It's better to take a walk around Ein Kerem at 6 p.m. Years ago a few seminary girls died when they took one bottle of water with them to the Dead Sea in July. Yeshivas and seminaries should only allow students to hike or do other strenuous outdor activities in supervised groups.

    Baruch Dayan Haemet

  13. Edward Lobel says:

    Like I said, let's wait to see how it happened. if it turns out to be an accident, there really is little we can do. If it turns out it was a homicide, depending on who did it would determine the punishment! We basically agree!

  14. Please do not jump to knee jerk conclusions. It is easy to talk tough from Long Island or Texas but here in Israel we have to be a little more circumspect since tough reactions without proven cause can bring the house down.

  15. Allan Meadow says:

    Edward we do !!!!

  16. Edward Lobel says:

    Geoffrey, I certainly did not jump to any conclusion! What I said was "let's wait to see what happened, then decide the punishment" Perhaps you need to go back and re-read what was said!

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