Children on a school bus gaze toward the apartment of Leiby Kletzky's family on 57th St. in Borough Park on Thursday
Leiby Kletzky's gruesome death sent shock rippling through Brooklyn's Orthodox Jewish, and one detail has compounded the pain: The accused is one of them.
"Everybody is confused here because this never happens between Jewish people," said Barukh Badalov, who owns a barbershop on 48th St.
Borough Park is one of the most insular and tightly knit communities in the city. When the 8-year-old vanished, many assumed an outsider was the culprit.
Disbelief greeted the news that the suspect, Levi Aron, was raised in a devout home in neighboring Kensington, attended yeshiva and went to synagogue.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind said his office received a flood of panicked calls from residents feeling a mix of shock and shame.
"Some people even asked me, Is he from the Arab community next door, because we have a lot of Palestinians and a lot of Muslims," Hikind said.
"I keep on telling people, 'No, no. We know who it is. His name is Levi. There's nothing to be embarrassed [about]. There's nothing to be ashamed of.'"
Ezra Friedlander said he initially wished Leiby's slaying was motivated by "anti-Semitism."
"Not because I would want that but now we know one member of the community killed another member," said Friedlander, who runs a public relations firm.
"The human race just doesn't discriminate when it comes to good or bad. There could be evil in your next door neighbor."
Simon Herb, 24, who had joined in the search for Leiby, said Aron's arrest had left many people feeling doubly depressed.
"The whole Jewish world is down," he said.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said that though the community is reeling, he expects it to rally around the confessed killer's family.
"They will make the family as comfortable as they can" and "be supportive," said Silver, an Orthodox Jew. "That's part of their tradition."
But not everyone feels such sympathy. Eva Rosenbluh, who owns an accessory store on 16th Ave., questioned Aron's faith.
"To me, he is not an Orthodox [Jew] because an Orthodox Jew wouldn't do that," said Rosenbluh.
"People have to understand it is just one person, not the whole community. People here are always busy raising their families and going to work."
"None of this makes sense," Rosenbluh added. "Everybody is broken in the community."