By COLlive reporter
The wedding of Yosef Yitzchok Feldman and Chaya Mushka Oberlander which took place 2 weeks ago in Budapest was a monumental occasion, and not only for a young couple beginning their lives.
For starters, there was the historic location: the Obuda synagogue which has recently been reopened thanks to the efforts of the kallah’s father and Head Shliach of Hungary, Rabbi Boruch Oberlander, and Shliach Rabbi Shlomo Kovacs.
During the Kabbolas Panim, when the crowd was greeting the chosson and kallah, one of the guests and an uncle of the kallah, Rabbi Mendel Feller, was scouting for Jews to help put on Tefillin before sundown.
Those familiar with the modus operandi of the Fellers in St. Paul, Minnesota could be certain he would not remain empty handed and indeed, he didn’t.
The man he met said he hadn’t put on Tefillin or davened for over 50 years – since living in an orphanage which housed Jewish children after the devastation of the Second World War.
Asked if he knew Rabbi Oberlander or any of the rabbis, the man answered that he does not. “I’ve been here before there was a Jewish wedding here,” he said emotionally.
He went on to describe how his parents, siblings and grandparents were deported to the gas chambers mere yards away from where the chuppa was standing, in the courtyard of the Obuda synagogue which was built in 1820 and once home to the largest Jewish community in Hungary.
The three-story building, designed by architect Andreas Landesherr in the French Empire style, was closed down after the Holocaust and the subsequent Soviet takeover of Hungary. In the 1960s, it was converted to state-run television studios.
Gazing at the restored shul, the only one in the Buda part of Budapest, the Holocaust survivor said he has a pair of Tefillin at home. At the encouragement of Rabbi Feller, he met the local Shluchim who will be teaching him how to don it daily…