Rebbetzin Chana’s Memoirs: Missing Son’s Wedding
In this 10th installment of the series, Rebbetzin Chana describes how she and her husband Reb Levik, unable to attend their son’s wedding in Warsaw, celebrated the occasion in their apartment in Dnepropetrovsk.
Wedding Celebration in Dnepropetrovsk
I have taken a break and not written for a while. Today is the 14th of Kislev, the [20th] wedding anniversary of our son, [Rabbi] Menachem Mendel and his wife Moussia, long may they live.
This occasion, too, reminds me of the greatness of my husband, of blessed memory. It was 1928. Anti-religious propaganda was extremely intense, although several synagogues and a Jewish religious community still existed [in Dnepropetrovsk]. By that time, [even independent] left-wing parties no longer existed.
The authorities had already confiscated half of our apartment, leaving us only three rooms. The larger portion of the apartment, of course, was given to the new neighbors.
Although the groom and bride were not with us, we wanted to celebrate on that day. To rent a hall was no longer possible at that time. Our neighbor, an engineer, couldn’t bear the Orthodox Jewish practices in our home. For example, a considerable number of Jews still came to listen to the Chasidic discourses [my husband delivered on Shabbat], and many attended his Yom Tov farbrengens [Chasidic gatherings]. So our neighbor isolated himself from us, keeping his apartment totally separate from ours.
Somehow, however, our neighbor heard in town that we wanted to hold a celebration to mark the wedding. For our benefit, he broke through a wall between the apartments, opening his apartment to ours. He removed all his furniture and moved out as well, giving us the use of his apartment for as long as we would need. Our original large room had been allotted to our neighbor, so now we had an extensive area [to use for the celebration].
We sent out invitations and the celebration gave everyone in town the opportunity to their respect towards my husband. The spiritual aura [of the event] was so intense that it seemed to assume the character not of a personal celebration but of a religious demonstration.
Guests came from neighboring towns, family members, of course, and we received several hundred telegrams. The evening event at home was attended by representatives of the central Jewish community of our region. Every synagogue, even if it had relatively few members, sent representatives, many of them accompanied by their wives.
Keep in mind that this took place at a time when any contact with clergymen was forbidden, and such a crime
could cost one their job. Nevertheless, no one held back, and a large number of prominent doctors and attorneys, who held important positions in the local ispolokom headquarters and the municipality, came and celebrated with us all night.
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