Long Island med student missing nearly a week found

Jas Chana

NEW YORK  (JTA) — A Jewish medical student from Long Island was found alive after being missing for nearly a week. 

Yossi Gerson, 29, a student at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, was found on Sunday morning. He had not been seen since Oct. 5, the Jewish holiday of Shimini Atzeret, when he told his mother that he was leaving the family home to meet a homeless man he had become friends with, CBS New York reported.

When Gerson did not return home, and local police were unable to locate his whereabouts, his parents Wendy and Alan released a public statement.

“There isn’t much to say other than we are heartbroken. Our dear Yossi has vanished without a trace and we are asking and begging everyone everywhere to be our eyes and ears in the hopes that somebody has seen something. Whether you are in the Five Towns, Queens, Brooklyn or beyond, we ask you to share this information with anyone that you can,” the statement said.

Gerson’s parents noted that he had not been his usual self lately and offered a $20,000 reward for new information regarding his location, CBS New York reported.

On Thursday, 800 volunteers reportedly showed up to search over 470 locations, from motels to hospitals, in Long Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx, an update from the parents published by The Yeshiva World News reported. In the update, Alan and Wendy Gerson thanked the community “for literally bonding together like never before,” despite being unable to find their son.

On Sunday morning, friends of the family decided to arrange a “Motzaei Shabbos Tehillim” gathering at Yeshiva Darchei Torah in Far Rockaway on Gerson’s behalf. Over 1,200 people were reportedly in attendance. Forty minutes into the gathering, a “lost and disorientated” Gerson walked through the doors, a final statement released by the parents reported. Gerson was allegedly found by an “unknown man in a wheelchair,” who placed him in a cab and directed it to go to the Tehillim gathering, the statement read.

“To the thousand plus volunteers who tirelessly searched for Yossi: His safe return is in your merit,” Gerson’s parents said in the statement, thanking the community for their search efforts.  “Those hours of upheaval were critical ones, and we have no doubt that your selfless determination and Mesiras Nefesh played a crucial role in keeping him safe,” they said. 

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