NEW ORLEANS, LA (PIX11) – Several dozen relatives and friends from the Orthodox Jewish community of Lakewood, New Jersey, flew to New Orleans last week to search for missing father Michael Gelfand, who was last communicated with his wife on January 6.
The 33-year-old father of four had told his wife and children he was flying to NOLA on January 5 for an overnight business trip.
The New Orleans Police Department posted a flyer on its Facebook page stating that Gelfand “is scheduled to return home to New Jersey on January 6, 2022. His family has not heard from him since January 6.” .
There is at least one report from New Orleans that Gelfand may have been spotted last week shopping and hanging out in bars.
But that didn’t deter a large group from Lakewood, which flew to Louisiana and set up a search command center in a conference room at the Marriott hotel on Canal Street, according to the PIX11 affiliate. News in New Orleans, WGNO.
Search team spokesman Nathan Ginsbury told WGNO “Michael wants to be found. Michael needs to be found.
“He may have a struggle right now that we don’t understand, that he may not understand,” Ginsbury continued, “but he still wants to be a part of this community.”
Lakewood, New Jersey is a tight-knit enclave where many members of the Orthodox Jewish community live. More than half of Lakewood Township’s 135,000 residents are Orthodox Jews. Many residents of Lakewood have strong ties to New York City and Long Beach, Long Island.
Gelfand is described as being six-foot-two and weighing 200 pounds. Gelfand was last seen wearing blue jeans and white sneakers with a black hoodie, possibly carrying a backpack.
When his wife last heard from him, Gelfand had texted on Jan. 6 that he was getting a flight home that evening.
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