Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) is encouraging people to share the story far and wide of recently stolen antique seforim (books) in an effort to help recover these irreplaceable artifacts. Announcing a $5,000 no-questions-asked reward for the books, the family of Rabbi Meir Rokeach, the Kozlover Rebbe, whose synagogue the books were stolen from, asked Assemblyman Hikind to please assist them in publicizing this despicable robbery, which has left the Rabbi, his family and their congregation reeling from the shocking incident.
“Books like these are precious to the family and the community, not just because of their monetary value, which is estimated at nearly $400,000, but also because of their history,” explained Assemblyman Hikind. “They are essentially irreplaceable and both collectors and dealers of these types of items should be on the lookout for them if the thieves attempt to sell them. People typically desire to own such seforim because they are holy and they radiate blessings—but it is surely no blessing to own books that were stolen.”
Hikind said that the police are investigating the theft of 60 antique books which were taken from Congregation Maase Rokeach, located on 12th Avenue in Boro Park. The items taken include three Shla Siddurim, one Rav Yaakov Emden Siddur, a Tanach, a Lublin Zohar, and two volumes of Slavita Zohar.
Hikind added that people should be extra vigilant with regard to protecting valuable items. “Our communities are special but they are not immune to thieves,” he said. Anyone with information is urged to call the Boro Park Shomrim at 718-871-6666 and the NYPD 66th Precinct at 718-851-5611. In addition, two community rabbis have offered to accept the stolen books anonymously, no questions asked: HaRav Tzvi Halpern, the Viener Rav, 1346 45th Street, Brooklyn, and HaRav Yisroel Duvid Harfenes, Dkhal Yisroel Hazmanim, 244 Hewes Street, Brooklyn.
(YWN headquarters – NYC)