HOUSTON — A Houston rabbi is praying you will help him. Some sacred items were stolen from his minivan during a smash and grab on Tuesday.
While the items have no real street value, the religious pieces are priceless to Rabbi Chaim Lazaroff.
"Unfortunately, they probably had the surprise of their life thinking that they were going to become rich overnight and looking inside and not seeing anything that was of value to them, but for me, it’s priceless," Lazaroff said.
The rabbi is a born-and-raised Texan. His wife recently gifted him a set of three leather bags that were custom made to look like the Texas flag.
"Because I’ve always dreamed of having beautiful Texas bags to house my holiest of articles, my talit and tefillin," said the rabbi for Chabad of Uptown.
The tefillin look like small wooden boxes with two leather straps attached to allow the box to be fastened to a person's head. Inside each box are handwritten scrolls of all the scriptures. Lazaroff received the holy items when he turned 13.
"These are our sacred items that are like a life," Lazaroff said.
The leather bags are designed to hold the items, "and on the inside of the bag, if you flip up, it has my email address and my phone number, in case I, God forbid, lose it one day. I never thought I would actually get it stolen," he said.
Just after 2 p.m. Tuesday, at a flower shop near Westheimer and Fountainview, the rabbi left his bag in the backseat of his minivan. He walked into the flower shop for a meeting that lasted about 20 minutes.
Minutes after, security cameras captured the rabbi walking into the business. A new model silver Dodge Ram 4-door with custom wheels, dark tint and paper plates, is seen slowly driving through a restaurant parking lot across the street from the flower shop.
The truck backs into a parking spot right next to the rabbi's vehicle, "and they’re looking inside, a couple inches forward, a couple inches backward, pulling up, pulling back, obviously looking through the windows to see what may be of value in the van."
It appears at least two people were inside the truck. One handled the smash and grab, the other was behind-the-wheel.
The rabbi posted on Facebook asking people to check their bushes, their garbage, in case the guys dumped his bags.
"I don’t know. Maybe somebody out there will find it, see it," Lazaroff said. "Maybe the people that took it will say, ah! They’re having some bad karma and they’re wondering why. Well, that’s why! You’ve got to bring it back! Show some Texas brotherly love. Bring it back!"
A GoFundMe has also been set up for the rabbi.
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