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Shocking Footage Released of Shaimos Being Dumped in Pennsylvania Land Fills


After months of research, Assemblyman Hikind (D-Brooklyn) revealed this morning that literally tons and tons of shaimos originating in the Tri-State area are ending up in a landfill in Pennsylvania, buried beneath dirty diapers and other refuse.

When reports of the landfill-shaimos operation reached Hikind, he met with leading community rabbonim to discuss the matter while immediately dispatching his staff to investigate. What Hikind discovered was far worse than he feared.

“This is no small operation,” said the Assemblyman. “Tons and tons of holy seforim and other shaimos are being hauled in by 18-wheel tractor trailers and dumped on a regular basis on top of garbage at a huge landfill in Pennsylvania. The shaimos are then covered with a six-inch layer of dirt, packed down, and then household garbage is placed on top, creating a virtual sandwich of garbage and shaimos, l’havdil. We believe this has been going on for as long as 15 years.”

Hikind discussed the matter with numerous rabbinical authorities including Rabbi Chaim Cohen, Rav of the Gur Shteibel and a dayan; Rabbi Shraga Hager, the Kosover Rebbe; Rabbi Nachman Yechiel Mendel Steinmetz, the Skwere Dayan; and Rabbi Yisroel Reisman, the Rav of Agudath Israel Zichron Chaim Tzvi and Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva Torah Vodaas. All of the rabbis unanimously agreed that the burial of holy shaimos in a landfill with garbage was shocking and disgraceful. Rabbi Steinmetz emphasized, “If shaimos is not treated properly, it can bring about a mahgaifah (a plague), chas v’sholom.”

“Our community is so very careful about the dignity of a single sefer,” said Assemblyman Hikind. “We teach our children at a very early age to kiss a sefer that is even dropped by accident and how not to desecrate shaimos. But, unfortunately, we have also been very trusting as a community when it comes to disposing of those bags and bags of shaimos that we all get rid of each year, typically around Pesach. Our neighborhoods fill up with trucks collecting shaimos. Most people don’t ask where their shaimos is going to end up—and when they do ask, no one seems to be able to give a straight answer.”

But Hikind insisted on learning the truth. Last April, just days after Hikind warned the community of potentially fraudulent shaimos collection and burial operations, garbage bags filled with holy books were found dumped upstate in Haverstraw, NY. “People were literally crying to think that they might have inadvertently given their holy shaimos to someone who could care less, who treated their shaimos like garbage,” said Hikind. “We worked to resolve that immediate problem but I’d been warning people for years to be careful about this.”

Over the last few years, large quantities of shaimos were found abandoned in both Boro Park and New Jersey, at which point Hikind worked with Rabbi Yosef Schwartz of Beth Genizah Olam, who volunteered to help the Assemblyman properly dispose of the abandoned shaimos.

“This new discovery may be the worst I’ve ever seen with regard to shaimos,” said Hikind. “The sheer volume is overwhelming—as many as 15 tractor trailers per years, each with a capacity of 80,000 lbs. of shaimos. And this continues at this very moment. When people see the video of what we discovered, I think they will be shocked and sickened.

“We cannot ignore this issue. People have the right to know how their holy shaimos is being disposed of when they’ve paid for that service. We hope that a plan will be put in place to minimally educate the community further regarding shaimos and its proper disposal. But all of the rabbonim that I spoke with are in total agreement that there has to be a better way.”

13 Responses

  1. so why the secret? tell us who is doing this, so we won’t use him.
    also I think most of these people taking shaimos have an hashgacha, does that mean the hashgacha is no good? we need answers. save our holy books.
    it’s bad enough when the goyim do this, for a yid to do this is horrible.

  2. “When people see the video of what we discovered, I think they will be shocked and sickened”

    Ok, I was.
    So why don’t you tell us who these low life crooks are so we should know who to avoid in the future? Or is this like a standard Kashrus scandal, where everything is covered up & swept under the rug “to protect the good name lol of the Family/Rebbe”?!

  3. Who did it? With that quantity, and especially if someone could track it all the way to PA, finding the perps shouldn’t be too hard. License plate?

  4. I think it’s time that Rabbonim only endorse certain people to take care of Shaimos and the rest it’s at your own risk.

  5. Was the truck there legally? So who’s name is on the permit, and where is the Shaimos coming from? Who was the truck working for?

    This information is important, and while this article stressed how important proper care of Shaimos is, it contains no promises to find and stop this. Is it perhaps coming from a seforim store that we give our Shaimos to?

  6. In Chicago there are two citywide shaimos collections, one done by Agudah and the other by the CRC.
    Both are very respectful of the shaimos and are very careful to do everything according to halacha.
    So the answer is to know who you are giving your shaimos to and don’t assume that the guy on the corner can be trusted, no matter how he is dressed..

  7. No news there. There are two trucks being moved weekly on Avenue J and K and the 22, 23 blocks areas which I am positive are full of sheimos.

  8. For years I don’t give shaimos to the trucks in stead I do it myself. Its easy. I monitor Misaskim for local levayas, pick a close one, show up early and toss them in.

    next time you have Shaimos go to your back yard anyway most of the time it’s not a larg amount and dig a hole and put in the ground cover it and it’s all done then you know for sure it was done the right way don’t trust anyone and let’s don’t be so lazy and get out hand Little bit dirty nothing will happen to us

  10. So first they sandwich my car between the truck and the sidewalk, and now they’re sandwiching the Shaimos. Guess their הכשר was on the first sandwich..

  11. A few years ago my husband saw the Shaimos Truck during Chol Hamoed Pesach. It didnt look respectable to say the least. Since then we stopped using it.

  12. There are a couple of other issues involved here, too. One is that many of us don’t really know what qualifies as shaimos that requires burial, so we err on the side of caution when dealing with “Jewish stuff”, which leads to a massive amount of so-called shaimos. Finding places to bury it all is quite a challenge.

    For example, if one purchases a newspaper containing, among other things, divrei Torah, does one place the entire paper in geniza or must one spend time separating out the geniza-worthy material? Does the fact that it’s a newspaper intended to be tossed in the recycling bin lessen the geniza-worthiness of divrei Torah found in it’s pages?

    Under what conditions may one rely on the leniency of placing an item in a plastic bag and then tossing it in the trash?

    Perhaps pulpit rabbis should devote some additional time to educate their congregants about such things, too.

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