Wednesday, December 23, 2009
An Appreciation of Chaim Feigenblatt
This past August (2009), we lost another of our old timers, Chaim (Henry) Feigenblatt. I unfortunately was only able to get to know him in his later years. I always think of him together with Mr. Rubinstein, who were both elderly Holocaust survivors from Poland. For many years, they were mainstays of the minyan at Old Broadway, even after Rabbi Kret (also an elder survivor from Poland) had retired.Mr. Feigenblatt was born in Poland in a town which is unpronounceable in English. I don't know much about how he survived the Holocaust except that he was in a labor camp, and when one of his brothers and also one of his sisters came through, he was able to rescue them, so that all three survived (although most of the family was killed). Mr. Feigenblatt came to America in the later 1940s or early 1950s, when the immigration restrictions were relaxed. Eventually he became the owner of a dry-cleaning business and was successful. By the time that I got to know him at shul he was quiet but friendly and had a special love for children. He especially lit up when he saw one of my daughters. Later on, I also learned that he loved cholent, which earned him a place in my heart since I have become Old Broadway's chief cholent master chef. As he got older, it became more and more difficult for him to get to shul although his wonderful and energetic wife, Mary, did her best. We almost always gave him an aliyah when he came, and after he ascended the bimah, said the berakhos with tears in his eyes. Whether it was because he was aware of how sick he was becoming or because getting an aliyah reminded him of the family he lost in Poland, we will never know. I miss him. May Chaim ben Immanuel's memory be for a blessing.