Only a month ago, Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) was contacting everyone he could via phone calls and social media to help a local rabbi recover over $400,000 in stolen antique seforim (books). Today, the Assemblyman stood alongside Rabbi Meir Rokeach, the Kozlover Rebbe, as the precious books were returned to his synagogue. The return of the books was facilitated by the Borough Park Shmira, a local community safety patrol whose volunteers dedicated themselves to tracking down the thief and negotiating the safe return of the collection.
“Books like these are precious to the family and the community, not just because of their monetary value, but also because of their history,” explained Assemblyman Hikind. “People typically desire to own such seforim because they are holy and they radiate blessings. And thankfully our community is blessed to have dedicated volunteers like Shmira.”
Led by founder/director Levi Leifer and coordinator Usher Frisch, the Boro Park Shmira worked with the local police and used private video surveillance to identify the thief. They then arranged for the books to be returned. No arrests were made and no ransom for the books was paid, said Leifer.
Hikind thanked Shmira for their persistence, dedication and tireless efforts for weeks on end. “There’s a lesson in this for everyone,” said the Assemblyman. “Everyone who can afford to should put up surveillance cameras—and everyone should be eager to share video footage with the police and local security patrols when necessary. As a community working together, we can better prevent crime.”
Rabbi Rokeach and his family expressed their enormous gratitude to Assemblyman Hikind and the members of Boro Park Shmira.