Ceremony marks a year since Mumbai massacre

Ceremony marks a year si

By MATTHEW WAGNER
November 18, 2009 00:09
1 minute read.

 
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Some 2,000 Chabad emissaries and leaders, politicians, rabbis and businessmen are expected to attend a memorial service on Wednesday at Kfar Chabad marking the one year anniversary of a terror attack in Mumbai, India, that killed 172 people, including Rabbi Gabriel "Gabi" Holtzberg and his wife Rivka. Rabbi Yosef Aharonov, Chairman of Agudat Tze'irei Chabad in Israel, which is organizing the ceremony, said that special large-screen monitors would be set up in Kfar Chabad to accommodate the large crowds expected to attend. Guests expected to take part in the memorial service include chief rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar, ministers Ariel Attias, Silvan Shalom, and Ya'acov Neeman, deputy ministers Yitzhak Cohen, Meir Porush, Ya'acov Litzman and MKs Yoel Hason, Zevulun Orlev, Uri Ariel, and Reuven Rivlin. Rabbi Gabriel Holtzberg, 29, and his wife, 28, arrived in Mumbai six years ago as official emissaries [shluchim] of Chabad. Gabriel, who was born in Israel and grew up in Kiryat Malachi, moved with his family to New York at the age of ten. Rivka, the daughter of a Chabad emissary in Afula, grew up in Israel. Their two-year-old son Moshe was rescued from the terrorists that stormed the Chabad House. During the ceremony, Moshe will celebrate his first haircut, a coming-of-age event for three-year-old boys, known as an "upshirin" in Yiddish or "chalaka" in Hebrew. Aharonov said that the murder of the Holtzbergs was one of the most traumatic incidents experienced by Chabad, and noted the timing of Moshe's third birthday - corresponding to the one-year memorial. "Moshe may be without biological parents, but the entire Chabad family has adopted him," said Aharonov. As part of their outreach efforts in Mumbai the Holtzbergs purchased a house in the Colaba area. Unlike Bombay or other locations in India which are frequented by Israeli backpackers, Colaba, a business center, attracts primarily businessmen. The Holtzbergs regularly hosted between 30 and 70 Jewish travelers and provided regular kosher meals, Torah classes and lodging. This week, an Indian doctor who was in contact with the Holtzbergs before the attack decided to embark on a process of conversion to Judaism. He now lives in Kiryat Arba.

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