Religious prayer items stolen from Atlanta rabbi’s son

Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 5:58 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - A sacred prayer item was stolen from an Atlanta rabbi’s son over the weekend in their midtown neighborhood.

Surveillance video shows a person breaking into a car stealing something incredibly sacred in the Jewish faith.

“Whoever took it thought that they got some sort of purse or bag or something with some sort of universal value inside of it. It’s a Jewish ritual prayer item,” said Rabbi Ari Sollish at Intown Jewish Academy, located on Ponce De Leon Pl NE.

The person in the video made away with what’s called “tefillin” belonging to Sollish’s son. They’re small, black leather boxes with leather straps containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with the holiest prayers from Jewish scripture.

“It’s a hand-crafted, unique item that just can’t be replicated with a push of a button,” Sollish said.

Tefillin is used for morning prayers, typically by orthodox Jewish men over the age of 13.

“He’s devastated about them being missing. His bar mitzvah was just a few months ago, so this was his tefillin. Typically when you get your tefillin, it’s for life,” Sollish said.

The leather boxes also hold a deeper meaning. They’re a reminder to moderate impulses. And so, this crime of opportunity goes against religious values.

“Obviously when something gets taken, I think there’s a sense of violation, of being violated. Your property or things are being violated. Let alone, when it’s something so holy and spiritual, so part of the Jewish ritual,” Sollish said.

The family fears the thief, not knowing what it was, could have tossed it in the trash. They’re praying it’s returned.

“We’re hoping someone finds them or knows something about them and can help us get it back and reunite him with these very special Jewish ritual items,” Sollish said.

The rabbi says they just want their sacred items back, no questions asked. If you know anything or if you have the items, you can return them to the Intown Jewish Academy, or turn them in at the Atlanta Police Department.

Below is a surveillance video of the theft.

#Tefillin was recently stolen from a local #Jewish man. Tefillin are sometimes kept in a family for several generations. Crystal Bui will have the full story tonight at 6:15 p.m.

Posted by CBS46 on Monday, April 4, 2022