Frum Community Thanks Waste Management for Amazing Efforts in Tefillin Search

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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.”

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{Matzav.com Newscenter}

5 COMMENTS

  1. There’s no question that people did their hishtadlus, despite ultimately not succeeding. At this point we have to say it was bashert. The odds of a) the tallis bag falling all by itself out of the cubby b) into a trash can that just happened to be there and c) the security tape not being viewed until it was too late are infinitesimal.

    Tizku lemitzvos to all those who put in their time and effort in the attempt to recover the tefilin and a great “Thank you” to Waste Management for being so incredibly accommodating.

  2. Watching the video, looks like two zekelach fell in…maybe ask around if anyone else had to fish out their zekel, who knows, could lead to something.

  3. I once had a car fire the entire interior was gone. My talis and tefillin were under the front seat. When the car was towed I looked inside it seemed like nothing was left. That night a friend told me I should go back and see if I can find some of the Tefillin to bury. The next day I shelped from Bp to some place in Jersey. Not only did I find the tefilin (not useable) but I found my wife’s pocket book with her important papers and a few hundred dollars

  4. Wouldn’t be at all surprised if this is what happened. Someone went by the trash can and saw the tallis bag, removed it and placed it somewhere else in the shul. It is hard not to see a tallis bag in the trash. It is my heartfelt hope that these precious tefillin will yet be located in the shul. Please keep us posted.

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