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Pay it forward

NY man thanks Hasidic family for returning lost wallet

Brooklyn couple returns wallet found with over $1,400 in cash; man says he ‘appreciates the gesture so much’

Assemblyman Eichenstein returns Collins' lost wallet (Courtesy via JTA)
Assemblyman Eichenstein returns Collins' lost wallet (Courtesy via JTA)

NEW YORK JEWISH WEEK via JTA – In a weekend marred by an act of hate-filled violence, a Jewish family from Brooklyn did their part to heal the world.

On Thursday, the Hasidic couple from Brooklyn were on an outing on Governors Island with their children when they found a wallet containing $1,400 in cash.

They contacted State Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, who was able to track down the owner of the wallet, a man named Christopher Collins from the Bronx.

In a video shared with the New York Jewish Week, Eichenstein is seen holding a meeting between Collins and the Hasidic man who found the wallet.

Collins said in the video that he is thankful and “appreciates the gesture so much.”

“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.

Eichenstein at a press conference in 2021 (screen capture: Youtube)

Eichenstein told the New York Jewish that after a series of reports of antisemitism, this is “a very nice moment.”

“These are two individuals that might have very little in common other than that they are both New Yorkers,” Eichenstein said. “We look out for each other.”

Eichenstein also noted that Collins is Black, which he brought up in referring to Saturday’s mass shooting in Buffalo when an 18-year-old white supremacist shot up a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood, killing 10 people and injuring three

“We know what happened in Buffalo is a horrible, racially motivated crime,” Eichenstein said. “We have to be there for each other. If only one person out there walks away from this moment seeing how these two communities treat each other, then it was worth it.”

Eichenstein said he wanted to bring attention to this story because some people view Hasidic Jews as “different because of the way we dress.”

“These are two individuals that have never met before and probably will never meet again.” Eichenstein said. “When we get past all that, we start to realize that is how we’re supposed to treat each other.”

Both Collins and the Hasidic family declined to be interviewed for the article.

Eichenstein also attended the Flatbush Council of Jewish Organizations breakfast on Sunday morning, where Rep. Ritchie Torres (Democrat-South Bronx) spoke about the relationship between Black and Jewish Americans.

“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,” Torres said.

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