Brooklyn, NY – After a two-week quest to recover a set of tefillin that was lost in Williamsburg – which led tens of volunteers to a landfill in Rochester, NY – it’s disappointing that the tefilin weren’t found. But it’s not for lack of trying.
Two weeks ago, a mispallel at a Williamsburg shul lost his tefillin. After several days of searching for it, thinking that he may have misplaced it, security cameras were reviewed, and it turned out that the tefillin slipped into a garbage can.
The person contacted the UJO late Motzoei Shabbos, and UJO in turn contacted the North Brooklyn Sanitation Chief, Mr. Jerrit Scotti, who was very responsive. It turned out that this bag was already hauled away by Waste Management and mixed up with a huge amount of garbage from around North Brooklyn, making its way to a Rochester-area landfill.
With assistance from elected officials and City Hall, Waste Management was contacted. They identified 32 train cars where the garbage of the area was transferred to. They isolated the cars and brought them to a special area in the landfill.
This week, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, a group of about 25 volunteers from Brooklyn and another 50 locals hired to assist sifted through the garbage, opening up the bags to look for the tefillin.
Unfortunately, the tefillin weren’t located. It was heartbreaking to see them return home emptyhanded, but they knew that they tried their utmost to save the tefillin and are tremendously thankful to all who assisted.
“I must express the community’s appreciation to the assistance of Waste Management and its top leadership,” UJO’s Rabbi Moshe Dovid Niederman told Matzav.com. “During the last 12 days, they spent countless hours to plan this operation. They went out of the way to accommodate us, and even donated $1,000 to offer a reward to the worker who will find the tefillin. It’s heartwarming to have experienced what a social-responsible company they are. They really went above and beyond to help in this mission, recognizing how important and valuable it’s to the community.”
“I’m thankful to all who assisted us since we started looking for the tefillin: Chiefly Chief Scotti, who is always available and responsive; Councilman Levin, who got on it during the Sunday wee hours; Senator Squadron’s Robbie Young, CAU’s Pinny Ringel and Daniel Abramson who responded on a Sunday morning and worked to establish the connection with WM; Rachel Amar from OATH who finally established the contact with WM; John Sullivan of WM who started the ball rolling on Sunday, together with Jay Kaplan, and Jefferey Richardson who prepared and oversaw the search at the landfill.
“Special thanks go to the tens of community members who left their families, busy schedules and jobs, spending days far away on this unpleasant – but important – task, and to their families who allowed and encouraged them to take on this holy mission. We also thank all the contributors of the tens of thousands of dollars to cover this mission. You all tried, and what counts to Hashem is the efforts you made.”