Jun 24, 2017
Film Crew Sees 'Divine' in Nyezin

Photographer Yosef Shidler says he felt the "Hand of Providence" while filming the Ohel of the Mittler Rebbe in Nyezin, Ukraine.

A springtime visit to a holy site in the Ukraine turned out to be a mystical experience for a Lakewood photographer who traveled to Eastern Europe to capture footage of kivrei tzadikim.

CJ Studios owner Yosef Shidler and photographer Mendel Mish had already visited the burial sites of the Baal Shem Tov, the Magid of Mezritch and Rabbi Nachman of Breslov when the two went to Nizhyn to the tzion of the second Lubavitcher Rebbe, also known as the Mitteler Rebbe.

Shidler had long dreamed of capturing still photographs and video footage of the many kevarim in the Ukraine as a way of inspiring others and connecting them to their religious roots.

Arriving in Nizhyn, a small city in the Northern Ukraine two hours from Kiev, Shidler and his crew found themselves in the midst of heavy downpours and violent thunderstorms. They traveled a few miles outside the city to the kever of the Mitteler Rov, and found that the entire area had been hit by a power outage.

As Mish launched the drone to capture aerial footage, Shidler went inside the tzion to daven by candlelight. Completing his tefilos, Shidler verbalized a request to the Rebbe, explaining why he had come and asking permission to photograph the kever.

“We had left all of our lighting in Kiev so when I came back in with the camera I tried fiddling with the settings to compensate for the fact that the room was almost pitch black,” said Shidler.

“I pulled out my phone hoping to get a little more light and suddenly the rain started pouring, there was lightning all over the place and the candle in the room started to flicker. I got a chill up my neck and I started to get the feeling that maybe I wasn’t supposed to be there.”

Unwilling to give up on his dream of sharing the Ukraine’s rich Jewish history through photographs, Shidler approached the tzion again, closing his eyes and making a second request.

“I told the Rebbe that I wasn’t there for myself,” said Shidler. “I explained that I was doing this for people in America to see the tzion. I asked the Rebbe, b’chovd haRav, if he would allow me to take pictures for just a few minutes.”

Shidler opened his eyes and as he did, the lights came back on.

Shidler spent several minutes taking pictures and video and, feeling confident that he had solid footage, he turned to leave the kever.

“At that second, the lights went out again,” recalled Shidler. “We stayed for another hour davening, and the lights stayed off for the rest of the time.”

Shidler found himself extremely moved by the experience whose timing seemed to be too providential to be chalked up to coincidene. He feels blessed to have had the opportunity to share these mekomos hakedoshim with others.

“I guess if you are doing the right thing for the right reasons you get special brachos,” said Shidler.


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Opinions and Comments
1. Why is there a an area of exposed bricks on wall inside ohel?
2. Who is buried next to Mittler Rebbe and which grave is the Rebbe - they are unmarked?
3. Who is buried on left side of ohel, a high fancy matayva fenced in (video at 1:17)?
(6/24/2017 11:19:07 PM)
Answer to Question 2
The other Kever is the Maharin, son of the Tzemach Tzedek. He was very close to his Zaydie the Mittler Rebber and became a Rebbe in Niezhen after the histalkus of his father.
(6/25/2017 9:45:34 AM)
To answer to Q2
So which kever is the Rebbe's? - they are both unmarked?! The one on right or on left? (The matzayva is on the wall).
(6/25/2017 7:25:06 PM)
This is problematic
The stone says the Mittler Rebbe and then you are confronted by two identical blank graves and no idea who is who. Maybe over time they got mixed up and nobody actually knows who is who. #2 you have only answered half the question.

can someone solve this and then maybe the next visitor can place a plaque on each grave clearly marking the name. This is a big inyan that the kever be clearly identified.
(7/18/2017 1:02:58 PM)
A shlucha
I have it documented from my trip over 20 years ago. They redid it since then. The brick iis from the original. I will check my archives who is buried where
(12/6/2017 11:33:34 AM)
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