THE Australian Jewish community is uniting to support and raise funds for the family of Alex Raichman, a “precious and beautiful” 11-year-old boy from Sydney, who died in tragic circumstances on Sunday night.
Alex, who had severe autism, ran away from respite care facility Civic Disability Services in Oatley at about 7.15pm. Emergency services, along with the local Oatley and Jewish communities, began a desperate wide-scale search to find him but shortly before 9.30pm, it was confirmed that Alex had been found at Oatley train station, having been hit by an oncoming train.
Speaking to The AJN this week, his aunt Shellie Braverman shared, “Alex was a blessing, he touched everyone with his adventurous spirit, love of fun. He had a remarkable way of re-discovering the seemingly mundane. The depth and breadth of our love for him is eternal.”
Sydney Friendship Circle, a community organisation that supports individuals with special needs, described Alex as “a treasured son, grandson, brother and friend. Today the world lost a beautiful angel.”
Posting on Facebook, the group said, “As we try to process this tremendous loss, your beautiful life flashes in front of us.”
The group described Alex as having a “mischievous smile”, “curiosity about the smallest creation” and a “zest for life”.
In a huge and heartwarming show of support, the community is raising funds to support Alex’s family – parents Sharon and Dale and twin brother Samuel.
At the time The AJN went to print, almost $40,000 had been donated online. A meal roster has also been set up for the family, who had reportedly left Alex in respite care while in Melbourne.
Responding to the outpouring of support, Braverman wrote on Facebook, “Thank you beautiful souls for sending love to my family … your community holds me in one piece.”
JewishCare, which had supported Alex and his family for many years, said: “Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this immeasurably sad time. We are working to support the staff and volunteers whose lives were touched by Alex.”
Others have posted moving messages to “precious and beautiful” Alex, remembered as “a sweet kid”.
Oatley residents, meanwhile, have left touching tributes at their local train station, with flowers and letters being laid in honour of the young boy.
NSW member for Oatley Mark Coure said, “My heart goes out to the family, friends and carer … I want to thank the Emergency services, and all the locals who last night helped to search for this little boy. As a father, I can only imagine the grief of the family and extend my deepest sympathies for their unimaginable loss.”
An investigation is underway into the circumstances surrounding Alex’s death.
Anyone with information is urged to contact St George Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Donations can be made to Alex’s family: https://alexraichman.raisely.com.
If you need to speak with someone urgently, contact Jewish House 1300 544 357 or Lifeline 13 11 14.