Seek and ye shall find... on-line

A new lost-and-found Web site could be just what you're looking for when your vacation suddenly goes bad

We've all been there, casually reaching into our pockets to retrieve a wallet or a cellphone. You expect to find it in the same pocket it's always in. As you realize that the other pocket is also empty, you glance towards the heavens and mumble a quick prayer: "Please God, not now, not here." Your partner doesn't have it, either. The initial optimism and forced calm quickly give way to palpable panic as the reality of the situation sets in: You're in a foreign country, an otherwise lovely vacation has now turned sour, and you have no idea how to set about retrieving what you've lost, and need. Luckily, Uri Brilliant, a Talmud teacher from Beit Shemesh, has built a Web site,, to solve just this issue. Ebood is Israel's largest lost-and-found site, while items one can find there include cameras, dogs, sports, equipment, tefillin, glasses, old photographs of sentimental value and just about anything else that can be lost - or found. The site makes it easy for honest people from across the country to report items that they've picked up. More than 950 items have already been reported in the six months the site has been up. The fact that there are as many reports of finds as there are of losses indicates, in Brilliant's opinion, that people are anxious to do good deeds. "If you give them the opportunity, they'll grab it." "While the site was originally developed in Hebrew, I recently added an English-language version, so its potential user base now includes tourists and English-speaking Israelis," Brilliant tells In Jerusalem. "I feel that this is the time to let tourists know that Israel has an English-language lost-and-found site. Imagine how many passports, wallets, cameras or sunglasses are... misplaced during the holiday? Why not give visitors the chance to get their belongings back? Why not give Israelis the chance do a mitzva?" he continues. The Web site "is not a money-making operation," he emphasizes. "We set up the site to fill a public need, not a financial need." Visitors can report lost or found items free of charge, and no rewards are offered or accepted. The success of the site will depend on the public's goodwill and awareness. Without any advertising budget to speak of, the site has gained significant publicity thanks to Hebrew-language newspaper and radio exposure. "Ebood is about being positive," says Brilliant. "It promotes trust, hope and kindness without asking anything in return."