Daily Israel Report

Rabbi Covered Wife's Body with Prayer Shawl Before He was Killed

ZAKA reports Chabad Rabbi and Kashrus inspector Teitelbaum were found dead with holy books next to them. Rabbi had covered wife with prayer shawl.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 11/29/2008, 8:59 PM

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Details of the tragic aftermath of the terrorist massacre in Mumbai's Chabad House have become available.

WARNING: some readers may find the descriptions disturbing.

The bodies of Chabad-Lubavitch emissary, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, and kashrus inspector Aryeh Leibish Teitelbaum, were found in the Mumbai Chabad House library, with holy books in front of them. According to ZAKA emergency service, the body of the Rabbi's wife Rivka was found covered with a tallit (Jewish prayer shawl), which her husband had managed to cover her with.

The bodies of the two other women who were killed along with Rivka Holtzberg were found tied with telephone cables. The women had apparently been bound before they were killed.

Rabbi Holzberg in Mumbai (2nd from right)
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ZAKA volunteers in Mumbai Chabad House
ZAKA

ZAKA prevent autopsies
"After security forces completed the takeover of the Chabad House, ZAKA volunteers undertook the task of locating and extricating the bodies of the missing," ZAKA announced. "Six bodies were located and extricated during the course of the Sabbath. The operation was undertaken among the ruins despite risk of life, and the danger from exposed grenades," the hareidi-run group said.

ZAKA emissaries reportedly struggled through the Sabbath to prevent the bodies of the Jewish victims from being taken by local authorities for autopsies.

The sole terrorist who survived the Mumbai attacks told police that the attack on Chabad House was part of the squads' original plan. The terrorists planned to take hostages from the hotels and Chabad House and then use them to bargain for safe passage out of Mumbai, according to the Times of India.

Israeli pathologist being sent
Israeli officials said Saturday night that it appeared that Rabbi Holtzberg and his wife Rivka were killed during the first hours of the takeover of Beit Chabad by terrorists.

Voice of Israel Radio reported that nine bodies were found in Mumbai's Chabad House, and apparently seven were Israeli. Three have not yet been identified. Israel is sending a forensic pathology specialist to Mumbai to assist in the identification.