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Teary-Eyed Thousands Mourn at Holtzberg Funerals

Thousands jammed Kfar Chabad Tuesday and heard rabbis and President Peres eulogize Chabad Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 12/2/2008, 4:13 PM / Last Update: 12/3/2008, 8:13 AM

Thousands of mourners jammed Kfar Chabad Tuesday and heard leading rabbis and President Shimon Peres eulogize Chabad Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka, two of the six Israelis murdered by Muslim terrorists in the Mumbai massacre last week.



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Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky vowed that the Mumbai Chabad center will be re-named after the couple, whose two-year-old son Moshe was saved by their nanny when she snatched him and fled the terrorist-infested building.

"You don't have a mother who will hug you and kiss you." He cried. "You are the child of all of Israel."

He told Chabad emissaries. "This is not a time to think or ask questions but for action. The answer to terror will not be given with tanks and grenades. Such cruelty can only be fought against by spreading light."

Rivka's father spoke during the ceremony and revealed that Rivka had been five months pregnant at the time of her death. Speaking of his murdered daughter and her husband, he said, "You were the nation's emissaries in your lives and in your deaths. Look how many people have come... You are sanctifying the name of Heaven and calling for unity."

President Peres told the crowd that terror is a "plague that is difficult to stop" and that the world must unite to defeat it.

Leaders of the Labor, Shas and Likud parties were present, and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was out of the country. Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was not present.

Former Chief Rabbi of Israel Yisrael Meir Lau, now Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, and the current Ashkenazic and Sephardic chief rabbis also eulogized the slain couple. Following the eulogies, the funeral procession departed for the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem, where Rabbi and Rivka Holtzberg were buried.

Earlier, Chabad House victims Aryeh Leibish Teitelbaum and Norma Shvarzblat-Rabinovich were interred at Jerusalem cemeteries, and Ben Tzion Kruman was buried in Bat Yam. The sixth victim, Yocheved Orpaz, was interred at the Yarkon cemetery in Tel Aviv.