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Monday, December 22, 2008

Mumbai attack victims remembered on Long Island

Mumbai attack victims remembered on Long Island

BY LAURA RIVERA

December 22, 2008

Reb Nachman Holtzberg said he knows no words to express his grief at the violent death of his son.

Yet, at a West Hempstead memorial yesterday for the victims of the Mumbai terror attacks, Holtzberg found a way to urge others to continue the work of his slain son, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg.

Among the six Jews killed in the attacks last month, Holtzberg, 29, and his wife, Rivka, 28, died in the Chabad center they had operated since 2003. Inside, officials recovered a damaged Torah. According to an Israeli news report, the scroll had a bullet hole in a Leviticus chapter, which narrates divine instructions to Aaron after his sons' death.

It is a position Holtzberg now finds himself in - and, he said, he knows what he must do.

More than 200 people packed a hall inside Young Israel of West Hempstead on Hempstead Avenue to hear Holtzberg's message in his first public appearance since his son's burial in Israel.

Following a video of the events and the groundswell of public outcry that followed, Holtzberg called on the audience to strengthen the Jewish presence in Mumbai by building a bigger Chabad center there.

"We will have a bigger building and everybody who has an interest [in Judaism] in India will have a place to stay," Holtzberg said, his voice rising.

"You don't need to fight against darkness," he said. "A little light spreads."

In a spirit of solidarity with victims and their families, Rabbi Yossi Lieberman, director of Chabad of West Hempstead, asked those gathered to attend a public menorah lighting for Hanukkah.

It is scheduled for 7 p.m. today in West Hempstead at Hall's Pond Park, at Nassau Boulevard and Hempstead Avenue.

Beyond that act, said Rabbi Tuvia Teldon, director of Chabad Lubavitch of Long Island, the faithful should commit to do good acts. "This is the power of every single one of us," said Teldon, regional director of Chabad of Long Island. "To make sure we add to the world more than just the light."

Copyright © 2008, Newsday Inc.

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