A Hasidic family (name undisclosed) from Brooklyn found a wallet during an outing to Governors Island last Thursday. The wallet contained $1,400 in cash.
Intent on performing the mitzvah of hashavas aveida (returning lost items), the family contacted State Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein in hopes of tracking down the owner of the wallet: Christopher Collins, who lives in the Bronx.
Eichenstein was able to arrange a meeting between the father of this family and Collins, at which the return was made – the video is available at the New York Jewish Week.
“I’m thankful to find out that there are people out there that care enough to give me back my wallet with all my things in it,” Collins said. Both Collins and the family have declined further interview, but Eichenstein has been available for comment as the mediator.
Eichenstein has taken the opportunity of this feel-good moment and kiddush Hashem to speak on human kindness, particularly in the wake of the mass shooting in Buffalo and other recent racially-charged acts of violence. “These are two individuals that have never met before and probably will never meet again. When we get past all that, we start to realize that is how we’re supposed to treat each other.”
The topic of the relationship between the black and Jewish communities also came up this Sunday at the Flatbush Council of Jewish Organizations breakfast. “Fighting racism should never be the sole responsibility of the Black community, just like fighting antisemitism should never be the sole responsibility of the Jewish community,” Representative Ritchie Torres said at the event. Change happens when we work together and see the humanity in others – because as humans we aren’t so different at all.