Victims, Families Coming Home

Rivka Holtzberg's parents boarded a plane Monday with the bodies of the six victims of the Mumbai massacre, including their daughter.

Hana Levi Julian,

Rabbi Gavriel and Rebetzin Rivka Holtzberg
Rabbi Gavriel and Rebetzin Rivka Holtzberg
Israel News Photo: (courtesy of

Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg and his wife Yehudit boarded a plane on Monday together with their two-year-old grandson Moshe Tzvi and his Indian babysitter Sandra Samuel to return to Israel. Also aboard the flight were the bodies of the little boy's parents, Rabbi Gavriel and Rebetzin Rikva Holtzberg and four other Jewish victims of the Mumbai massacre.

The young Holtzberg couple, and the four other Jews whose bodies accompanied the sad but living passengers on their flight home, were brutally murdered in a multi-site massacre by Islamist terrorists that began last Wednesday and continued in a bloody rampage through Saturday.

A report that Rivka's parents were considering staying in India to continue the work of their daughter and her husband was apparently the result of a misunderstanding.

The report, broadcast on IDF Army Radio Monday afternoon, was firmly denied by sources at the Migdal Ohr Girls' School (at which Rivka's father serves as principal) who told Israel National News that the Rosenbergs had no intention of staying in India.

"Of course not," said the source. "It is a misunderstanding," she said. "What Rabbi Rosenberg and his wife meant is to make sure that the Chabad House stays open and the work continues. The parents are looking toward the day that Rivka's son will be able to take it over when he grows up and becomes a sheliach (a Chabad emissary) like his father," she explained.

Bodies En Route to Israel, Funerals Scheduled
The flight, which is expected to arrive in Israel Monday night, left Mumbai earlier in the day after ZAKA personnel carefully boarded the coffins containing the bodies on to the plane.

Four of the coffins were draped with Israeli flags, while two were covered in prayer shawls only, in accordance with their families' wishes.

The funeral for Rabbi Gavriel and Rebetzin Rivka Holtzberg has been scheduled for 10:30 a.m. and will begin at the 770 Center in Kfar Chabad. A procession then will set out from the Chabad town to the Mount of Olives, where the couple will be laid to rest, as was their older son approximately two years ago, when he died of an illness at the age of three.

The times for the funerals of the other four victims have not yet been announced.

Nearly 200 people lost their lives and more than 300 others were wounded in the mass casualty event that included among its targets two of the city's most venerable hotels, its largest train station and a movie theater.

But it was the Nariman Chabad House which was specifically targeted by the terrorists as the place in which to find Israeli and Jewish victims, whom they were instructed to focus their efforts on, as well as Americans and British nationals.

The siege on the Chabad House ended as the Jewish Sabbath began in the dying light of an Indian sunset as Indian commandos fired a hail of bullets and rocket-propelled grenades at terrorists.

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