Guess who’s not coming to dinner

November 23, 2010 by Henry Benjamin
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A planned Shabbat dinner for twenty ended with unexpected guests for Rabbi Pinchas Feldman and his family…members of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs Fire Brigades.

The remains of the kitchn

As the family was preparing to welcome special guests from London, a smell of smoke pervaded their Penkivil St home in Bondi…followed by billowing black smoke as an an inferno engulfed their special Pesach kitchen.

When the fire was put out, Rabbi Feldman was amazed to discover that in the charred remains of the special kitchen, the haggadas and siddurs on the bookshelved had escaped unscathed.

Rabbi Feldman told J-Wire: “It seems my granddaughter  had wandered into the kitchen and had played with knobs setting the stove alight. It was covered in polythene and paper as the kitchen is in use only at Pesach. The family was in a state of panic for a few miunutes as Rose could not be found but we found her unharmed in another part of the house. I cannot explain why the Haggadat were not damaged…I will have to leave that to others. We were waiting for our special guests Rabbi Rappaport and his family  from London. They are in Australia is here for their son’s wedding in Melbourne this week. We smelled smoke and thought it might have been the food burning but suddenly there was this huge billowing cloud of black smoke. My daughter Chana closed the door to the back of the house. The fire brigade told us that her actions delayed the fire spreading by about five minutes…just enough time for them to get it under control. Otherwise, it would have engulfed the whole house. If the brigade had taken ten minutes longer, the house would have been gone.”

Rabbi Feldman and the Haggadas

It will be some time before Rabbi Feldman and his family can move back into their home. Rabbi Feldman said: “The only serious damage was in that room but the rest of house had heavy smoke penetration. But it is just amazing that in that room everything was destroyed…except the Haggadas and the siddurim…simply amazing.”

The Rappaports had their Shabbat dinner with their host, the Central Synagogue’s Rabbi levi Wolff while the Feldmans relocated to family homes nearby. No-one was injured in the blaze.

In the meantime, they expect to have their kitchen replaced and functional in time for Pesach…but the Haggadas are ready for action.

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