Video, Photos: Search for Missing Tefillin Underway in Upstate Landfill


As first reported on last week, a mispallel at the Lee Garden Shul on Lorimer Street in Williamsburg was shocked to discover on a recent Thursday morning that his tallis and tefillin were missing from the cubby in which he placed his bag after davening at the Satmar shul the day before. Unbeknownst to him, the tefillin weren’t stolen, but rather fell into a garbage can next to the cubbies Wednesday evening, as can be seen in the video clip below.

This revelation, however, only became known when the surveillance cameras at the shul were examined. By that time, the garbage bag has already been collected by the New York Sanitation Department and dropped off at a transfer station, where it was mixed with thousands of tons of refuse. It was then shipped several hundred miles via rail to a landfill in the Rochester area.

A desperate operation was launched to save the tefillin.

The private waste transfer firm and landfill owners understand how painful and important this matter is. They zeroed in on 50 rail cars – containing approximate 1,000 tons of garbage – where the tefillin might be, and graciously agreed to provide a large site at the landfill where the content of these rails can be spread out to be sifted through by volunteers.

It will require over 100 volunteers for over a day to sift through the garbage.

Volunteers have been outfitted with special rakes and safety gear to work at the landfill, and have been provided with travel expenses and food.

Volunteers have traveled to assist in the search mission and are there now, searching for the tefillin.

The following are photos and video from the search:

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  1. It seems a little to much

    To waste thousands of hours of LIMUD hatorah and time and effort. I can understand to search but this is way more than the Torah wants. We are not AL PI TORAH running for goose chases all day and we dont look into microscopes for bugs and we dont have to look thru a million pounds of garbage

  2. Just buy another one. Don’t try to be a hero. They are not that expensive. They are certainly a lot cheaper than buying an esrogim these days.

  3. To the above posters who object to the search: Have you read the letter above, signed by Rav Katz, listing the reasons the search is being undertaken despite its expenditures in both labor and dollars?

  4. they had a psak from a rov.its notthe money its the bizoyon of the holy tefillin.dovid hamelech wasn’t sure if he can be mevazeh the shem hashem even if it meant saving the world

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