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The tallit bag that came back from the war

תיק הטלית ועליו הרקמה י.ג
תיק הטלית ועליו הרקמה י.ג

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin 

We are used to seeing "I found tefillin" notices regarding a pair of tefillin that were left yesterday morning on a bus. But what about a tallit bag that was lost fifty years ago and was just found?

Last night, Elyashiv Gutman told me the following story: "My father, a graduate of the Har Etzion Yeshiva, was on a base in the Golan when, in the middle of Yom Kippur prayers, while fasting, a siren was heard and he ran towards a bunker, leaving his belongings behind. The Yom Kippur War had begun. After several months someone found my father's tefillin and returned them to him, but his tallit bag had disappeared until now.

Today my father told me that he had just received a call from someone who had been holding on to his tallit bag for fifty years. During the war, after we had taken back the area overrun by the Syrians, the tallit bag had been discovered in a disabled Syrian armored personnel carrier together with an IDF High Holiday prayer book, a Shofar, and a few other related items. One of the Israeli officers, Uri Atzmon, gathered up these items for safekeeping. Atzmon, who lives in the village of Kfar Sirkin, would display these items every Yom Kippur on a table for public viewing, where they served as objects of inspiration for the Day of Atonement.

Atzmon had been searching for the owner of the tallit bag for years and telling the story about it everywhere without finding any leads. This year his son began displaying the tallit bag on social media, publicizing it as follows:

'Uri Atzmon, battallion commander of armored infantry unit 43 of brigade 670, on the third day of the Yom Kippur War at the foot of Mount Givat Orcha, found a small bag embroidered with the initials Yud Gimmel. The bag will gladly be returned to its owner and all are welcome to share and forward this message.'

After the message had been shared, there was soon recognition that the initials Yud Gimmel were those of my father, Yitzchak Gutman.

This evening, from overexcitement, my father could barely speak. But amidst the many phone calls from family and old friends, he admitted that he always thought his tallit bag had either been burned or taken to Syria, and never imagined that he would see it again. He was so happy that, throughout the years, his tallit bag had been such a meaningful part of the Yom Kippur experience for the residents of Kfar SIrkin".


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