April 1, 2007 | Issue 27

Eleven Sephardic Teens Missing from Deal

DEAL, NEW JERSEY — [TheKnish.com] Immigration agents and the FBI are looking for eleven Sephardic teens from Brooklyn and Great Neck, NY who failed to show up to Deal, NJ for summer vacation, authorities said. The FBI on Saturday issued a nationwide alert to law enforcement agencies. Included were the teens names, ages, photographs and the make and model of their Mercedes convertible hard-tops.

FBI and immigration officials confirmed there's no evidence pointing to criminal activity or a terrorist threat. However, The Associated Press quoted a law enforcement official as saying that the teens could be sent to Deal when found because they violated the terms of their traditions.

During the months of July and August, Sephardic Jews from all over the NY area migrate to Deal, NJ, a borough in Monmouth County. Once July 4th had passed and all Sephardic Jews from New York settled in their summer homes, news began to spread of eleven teens who never showed up to their families' homes, prompting officials to contact the government.

A source with knowledge of the investigation said the men, who range in age from 17 to 19, may be staying in New York and cavorting with Ashkenazi Jews.

"We have run their names through the wringer as it is uncommon for Sephardic Jews to remain in the NYC area during the summer months," one Department of Homeland Security official said.

Sources within the Deal, NJ community have alerted authorities that the teens may have ventured to the Catskills, NY region – an uncommon territory for Sephardic Jews.

“If they are in the Catskills, they must be so scared and lost! The homes there… they call them summer homes, but they are really trailer park houses. The teens will never find their way home. We’ve always raised Albert to stay away from Route 17, and now we fear he may never come back,” said Victoria Sultan, the mother of missing 19 year-old Albert Sultan.

U.S. authorities are working with Sephardic agencies to make sure that the teens are located and returned to their familiar habitat. “If they are with the Ashkenazic Jews, it’ll be a real culture shock for them. These teens have never been around that many non-foreign made vehicles and will most likely be in a state of daze” one expert on Sephardic culture said.

"We do want to talk to them. But at this point there's no reason to believe there should be a heightened concern" said Assistant Homeland Security Secretary Rodney Germaine, who heads the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau in Monmouth County.

Writer

Pencil Jayson Littman, a native Manhattanite, works in banking by day and spends evenings inspiring his Spinning class riders to meet their maximum fitness potential by yelling at them to work harder and cycle faster. You can contact Jayson at jayson.littman@mac.com if you have any questions, comments or would like his Spinning class schedule so you, too, can be yelled at.


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