Friday, December 26, 2008

Chabad centre to stay

MUMBAI: Four weeks after the terror attack on Nariman House in which Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka and seven others were murdered by gunmen, emissaries of the Chabad Lubavitch movement arrived here to reaffirm their commitment to continuing their work in the city.

At a ceremony at the Gateway of India Rabbi Kotlarsky who is Vice Chairman of the International Conference of Chabad Lubavitch Emissaries said, “We are committed to coming back actually, we are not leaving. We are here and we are not leaving.”

With these words he invited Rabbi Rosenberg, the father of Rivka, to light the menorah. Seated in a manually operated crane, the Rabbi lit five of the oil lamps on the towering 15-foot high menorah. The number signified the fifth day of the Jewish festival, Chanukah.

At an earlier ceremony Rabbi Holtzberg, the father of Rabbi Gavriel, had lit a similar menorah installed at the Chabad centre at Nariman House.

Rabbi Kotlarsky described the Chabad centre as a “beacon of light to the whole world. It has been physically destroyed but the spirit lives on and the activities of Gavriel and Rivka will continue. We will not fight terrorism with AK-47s, grenades or guns. We will fight with beacons of light and goodness.” The Rabbi said it was too early to tell if the centre would continue to operate from Nariman house or elsewhere.

Speaking of the spirit of Chanukah the Rabbi said it was the victory of “few over many, weak over strong.” Chanukah, the festival of lights, spans eight days. On the fourth day of Chanukah two-year-old Moshe, the orphaned child of the Holtzbergs, lit a menorah at his maternal grandparents’ home in Afula, Israel. It had been a tradition with his parents to light a menorah during Chanukah at the Gateway of India ever since they came to Mumbai.

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