New Project Unwrapped: Find Homes for Tefillin

Meyer Markowitz wants some action: He wants you to search through your closets, poke around the basement or attic, and scrounge through drawers in search of one thing — unused tefillin.

Markowitz, 78, is leading a drive at Tiferet Bet Israel in Blue Bell to collect tefillin — two leather boxes filled with parchment and connected by a leather strap, also known as phylacteries — and donate them to less fortunate Jews. When older family members pass away, he said, their tefillin often remain unused.

"We want to receive tefillin from people all over the country whose parents had died or are no longer using their tefillin," explained Markowitz. "Then, we will forward them to young people who can't afford tefillin — and it [might] have a rebirth."

Just two years ago, Markowitz led a donation drive that brought more than 100 hearing aids to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.

'Make Them Proud'

The Blue Bell resident, who started the project three weeks ago, plans to have a rabbi inspect the collected items to make sure that they are kosher and then ship them to anyone who makes a request. He also expects to contact rabbis to see if they know of any congregants who cannot afford tefillin, which often sell for more than $100.

The knowledge that a previous owner "is looking down and seeing a young person wearing their tefillin today — instead of it just being in a velvet bag sitting on the shelf collecting dust — would make them proud," insisted Markowitz, who's already acquired nine sets of the religious item in two weeks.

For more information, call Meyer Markowitz directly at 610-278-1055.



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