Throughout the 30 years of our activity more than 300 sheimos collection bins have been placed all over the country, in 130 cities and towns. These bins serve every Jew in Israel who wishes to care for all of his sacred texts and objects respectfully, in accordance with halacha.
A sheimos bin is a unique container specially designed by Gniza Klalit, and placed on the cities’ sidewalks near shuls, schools and public buildings, or in cemeteries. These bins were made to supply an aesthetic and dignified place for sheimos to accumulate until it is collected and buried by the organization.
The sheimos bins are made of durable, weather-proof metal. The bins feature special openings for depositing regular sheimos, such as sacred texts and religious and mitzvah-related objects. A separate compartment is available for more stringent sheimos (tefillin and mezuzos ), which require special treatment.
There are several different kinds of bins, such as:
- Regular neighborhood collection bins
- Decorated neighborhood bins
- Deposit boxes for smaller quantities, for small communities
- Extra-large bins in cemeteries
The sheimos is collected from the bins across the country by a staff of 6 on-site workers with 3 crane-bearing trucks. Each day about 40 bags, weighing a total of 12 tons, are collected. Around Pesach (the most hectic time of the year) we work in shifts 24 hours a day, around the clock.
Collecting the sheimos and bringing it to burial is physically demanding and exhausting work. Our volunteers work year round under all weather conditions, with great self-sacrifice, faithfully processing the sacred texts with appropriate care and respect.
Bins fill up at different rates, depending on their size and the nature of their location. A special computer program monitors how fast each bin is filled so we can estimate how often it needs to be emptied.
When a bin is full, its contents are packed into large bags. The parchment compartment in the bin is emptied separately. Then the sheimos is transferred by a crane-bearing truck straight to the burial site.
Each month we process an average of 265 tons of sheimos, and in one year 3,500 tons of sheimos are buried, including 11,000 bags with a total volume of 13,750 cubic meters!
The sheimos is unloaded on the site into a deep pit. Each day a tractor covers it completely with dirt. After the first layer is completely full another layer of bags and then dirt is added, and another and another…
When the site of sheimos is full, it is covered with a thick layer of earth in such a way that it will never be uncovered. Then the area goes through a renovation process to restore and improve the landscape. Further digging or building on the site are subsequently prohibited.
The sheimos is buried in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Agency on authorized sites which are sealed off to prevent the seepage of toxic substances (such as ink) into the earth’s ground water sources.