“Most of all [we would like to thank] the Ribbono shel Olam, who answered our tefillos in the most obvious, astounding way, just 40 minutes after they were offered,” parents Alan and Wendy Gerson said in a statement following Yossi’s return. “Friends sent us pictures of the scene: Jews of every stripe and shul affiliation, praying together with fervor.”
The Gersons said they were “astounded” by the “diversity” and “unity” displayed in the efforts to find their son. The massive search effort had been underway since the end of Yom Tov. Nassau County police had partnered with multiple Shomrim and Hatzolah units from throughout the New York area alongside countless volunteers. Far Rockaway/Five Towns-based Achiezer Community Resource Center also played a key role in coordinating the search. Thursday night, hundreds combed the area for clues, but to no avail.
“When dear friends told us about the Motzoei Shabbos Tehillim gathering that they planned to arrange at Yeshiva Darchei Torah on Yossi’s behalf, we were sure that nobody would come,” the relieved parents said. “After all, how could we expect anyone to extend themselves night after night, especially after Thursday’s incredible showing?”
The Tehillim gathering was reportedly attended by nearly 1,200 people.
Gerson, a medical student and resident of Lawrence N.Y., returned to his parents’ home late Motzoei Shabbos. He had been lost and disoriented, but was in good health.
“We have no words in our vocabulary to express the depth of gratitude that we have to the entire community, to the thousands of friends and community members who gave their time and their hearts,” said the Gersons. “The police detective expressed admiration and amazement for our community. In his 18 years in the missing persons unit he has never seen anything remotely resembling the outpouring of support and help that was given us.”