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November 17, 2016 12:08 pm

Hasidic Volunteers Sift Through 300 Tons of Garbage to Find Lost Tefillin With Sentimental Value to Distraught Owner

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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Volunteers at the Fairport landfill, searching for lost tefillin. Photo: Waste Management.

Volunteers at the Fairport landfill, searching for lost tefillin. Photo: Waste Management.

A recent massive two-day search at a Rochester, New York landfill for a missing bag containing a tallit and tefillin (Jewish prayer shawl and phylacteries) was successful, according to a report by Israel’s Channel 10.

The search, conducted by dozens of volunteers scouring 16 containers — with 300 tons of trash — at the Fairport garbage dump, began last week when an elderly teacher at the Hasidic Satmar sect’s Lee Garden synagogue in Brooklyn discovered that the bag was missing from the cubby in which he had placed it for safe keeping.

According to reports from various Jewish and Israeli outlets, the phylacteries were of special sentimental value to the Torah instructor, who said he had received and used them daily since his bar mitzvah.

Initially, the reports said, the man thought the bag had been stolen from the cubby last Wednesday, but security camera footage — which was examined Saturday night — revealed that the bag had actually slipped and fell into a nearby trash can, which was emptied on Saturday morning.

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The head of the yeshiva and other rabbis issued a call for volunteers to go to the far-away dump and search through the mounds of rubbish for the bag, on behalf of its distraught owner.

One of the volunteers said, “It’s a lot of garbage to sift through, but I’m doing it for God, and for the cause.”

Watch the dozens of volunteers search for and find the lost tefillin below:

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