Boca Raton, FL – A Florida rabbi who found seven pairs of tefillin at an Alabama store that sells unclaimed lost and found items has put social media to work in his quest to reunite the tefillin with their rightful owners.Join our WhatsApp group
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Rabbi Uri Pilichowski, who currently lives in Boca Raton, was driving from Maine to Florida with his family when they made a stop in Scottsboro, Alabam, hoping to score some bargains at a store called Unclaimed Baggage which has been selling lost luggage gathered from airlines and other transportation companies for 44 years.
“We are moving to Israel in two weeks and we were looking to get a deal on iPhones,” Rabbi Pilichowski told VIN News. “While we were walking around my wife and kids found five pairs of tefillin. We asked them if they had any others and they brought out two more.”
The Pilichowskis and their six children, ages five to fifteen, have been on a years-long mission to visit all of the 48 lower states and having completed their quest, were on their way back home when they discovered the abandoned tefillin on Wednesday.
Rabbi Pilichowski paid $45 for each pair of tefillin and posted pictures of his find on Facebook, asking people to share his post in an effort to find the owners. His efforts paid off and by Thursday evening six out of the seven owners had been identified, with one living in Israel, one in Los Angeles and four more in New York.
“Within 12 hours the post had been shared over 1500 times,” reported Rabbi Pilichowski.
One pair of tefillin had been bequeathed by David Malka, a former chef for the Lubavitcher Rebbe, to his soon to be barmitzvah grandson, Abie, on his deathbed.. Another belonged to Noah Jacobson, a singer for the group The Maccabeats.
One pair of tefillin still remains unclaimed. According to Rabbi Pilichowski, the tefillin, which were in a tan bag embellished with a brown leather semi-circle bearing the word “Tefilin” in Hebrew, set against a background of the Jerusalem skyline, had a sticker inside saying they were last checked in Cholon by a place called Machon Hastam. Rabbi Pilichowski is hoping to be able to return this last pair to its owner as well.
Rabbi Pilichowski will be taking one of the lost pairs of tefillin to Israel with him in order to bring them to their owner who lives in Modiin. The remaining fives pairs of tefillin whose owners have been identified are already on their way back home, shipped via registered mail.
Asked what the owners’ responses were when they discovered that their missing tefillin had been found Rabbi Pilichowski replied, “I don’t know who is more excited: us or them.”
If you recognize these tefillin please contact Rabbi Pilichowski at [email protected].