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Daily Israel Report

Mumbai Chabad House - A Tribute

Mumbai Chabad House Directors Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg opened their doors and their hearts to all. This tribute opens our hearts to them.
First Publish: 12/1/2008, 5:46 PM / Last Update: 11/24/2008, 6:30 PM

(Photo: courtesy of Chabad)


The entire Jewish world and its friends amongst the nations stood together in shock over the horrific massacre of six Jews in the Nariman Chabad House in Mumbai, India. In addition to Rabbi Gavriel and Rebetzin Rivka, four other Jews who were at the Chabad House when it was attacked also gave up their lives to the terrorists' brutality: Rabbi Aryeh Leibish Teitelbaum, Rabbi Ben Tzion Kruman, Yocheved Orpaz and Norma Shvartzblat Rabinovch, all of blessed memory. This page is a tribute to them and to the slain couple that founded and directed the Mumbai Chabad House, Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, of blessed memory.

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The 'Disco Rabbi' Composes A Song Thanking G-d for Saving Little Moshe  -- The rabbi sings a catchy tune giving thanks to G-d for sparing Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg's son Moishe as well as others who were present.  

From Rabbi Gavriel's direct superior, worldwide Chabad-Lubavitch movement, Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky: 

"He was the finest and nicest gentleman that you can imagine. Never saw him without a smile. In the most trying of times, he was always cheerful. He greeted everyone pleasantly, and the reports that we always heard from around the world were of him being a real mentch [a warm individual of sterling character]. He was a very very special person, him and his wife." 

Pictures

Rivka and Gavriel Holtzberg, of blessed memory

Rivka cuts ribbon at new mikva (ritual pool) in Mumbai
photo: Chabad.org
 
A guest dons tefillin to recite the Shema prayer at Mumbai Chabad House
Photo: Chabad.org
Rabbi Gavriel, Doron ben Avraham and Benjamin Dandekar (Hazzan) at Mumbai Chabad House at Meal before Fast of Esther, Purim 2007
(courtesy Doron ben Avraham)

Messages of Support to the Families of the Victims  
Messages of love and support, outrage and grief, faith and compassion for the families of the Jewish victims of the Mumbai Chabad House massacre came pouring in to the Israel National News website.  Herewith a sampling...

Recent News Stories

Videos

In the video below, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, of blessed memory, talks about the history of the Mumbai Chabad House which he founded 5 years ago.



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The Chabad movement offers a response to the horrific massacre in the video below. Translating fury into action



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(Courtesy of FridayLight.org )

In the clip below, IsraelNN speaks with Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Lior Chayat as he boards the plane in Mumbai to return to Israel with the bodies of the slain martyrs.



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More videos and radio programs...

Audio

Yishai Fleisher interviews Dr. Baruch Sterman, businessman who travels to India regularly, about his experiences in the Mumbai Chabad House with the Holtzbergs.

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Tribute
 
Jews all over the world tuned in to their radios, sat glued to the T.V. and Internet, watching, listening, hoping and praying that the terrible drama in Mumbai, India, being unfolded before everyone's eyes, would somehow have a peaceful ending. Yet, as we were getting ready to usher in the Shabbat Queen, here in North America, we heard the incomprehensible and horrific news that the young Chabad Rabbi and his wife, Rabbi Gavriel & Rivkah Holtzberg, were brutally murdered in their Chabad House, by Islamic terrorists.

Two more rabbis, and two Jewish woman were murdered in the Chabad House of Mumbai, leaving some thirteen orphans, of which the oldest is thirteen and the youngest a baby of only two months.

Our hearts go out to the hundreds of families who lost loved ones in that brutal, heartless and cowardly attack in Mumbai, in which over two hundred people lost their lives.

I know Rabbi Holtzberg's father personally. It is difficult for me to find the proper words to express my heartfelt feelings and sorrow for this terrible tragedy. How can one find the proper expression of condolence for the horrific personal tragedy of the Holtzberg and Rosenberg families?

Rabbi Gavriel and his wife, Rivkah, were two wonderful young people, who decided to give up the comfort of living in Brooklyn, or in Israel close to their families and their Jewish community and settle in far away Mumbai, India.

Why, you ask? Simple (I mean... to them it was simple). They had a higher goal in life than the average young couple. They were committed to fulfill a holy mission in life. While other young couple's first concern is how to make life better for themselves, the Holtzbergs asked, "How can we make life better for others?"

They were two of more than four thousands emissaries (Shluchim) of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of blessed memory, who will place another person's needs before their own.

Gabi and Rivkah Holtzberg's love for a fellow Jew went beyond the Talmudic prescription of, "Don't do unto others what you don't want done unto yourself..." Their motto was, "Do unto others what you want for yourself... and more!" And they did and did. As a ritual Shochet, the rabbi would prepare a hundred chickens every week, while his wife would bake bread and Challot and prepare delicious gourmet meals for their many guests.

They were in Mumbai not as other westerners, traveling there for work, business or pleasure. They were in there only to help other Jews who were there for whatever reason and needed a home away from home. They moved to Mumbai to provide a synagogue, a home, kosher meals, to whom we would call strangers, but to Rivkah and Gabi no Jew was a stranger. They considered everyone who came through their Chabad House as family.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe taught us time and again to stand strong during moments of adversity. While our hearts are broken with the news of the loss of these two wonderful people, we have to continue their work in our own way. If we can ask Rabbi and Rebbetzin Holtzberg today, "What can we do for you?" They would answer, "Do a Mitzvah!"

So let's do a daily mitzvah in their honor and memory and pray that G-d watch and protect their son, Moshe, who was miraculously saved by his nanny. May G-d bless her for her heroic act of saving the little boy. May G-d bless His people, wherever they are, with true peace. Amen.

RABBI ZALMEN MAROZOV
Director, Torah Fax
Montreal, Canada

                  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Please send your story and/or pics of a personal encounter with Rabbi Gavriel
and Rivka Holtzberg to:
chabad-tribute@IsraelNationalNews.com. We will publish your full name and place of residence [not email] unless otherwise noted.