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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Obama sends condolences to Chabad

US president-elect expresses his profound sorrow over terror attack at Jewish center in Mumbai, says 'Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg carried out in their corner of the world Chabad Lubavitch's mission of service to the Jewish community'

Yisrael Bardugo

US President-elect Barack Obama send a letter of condolences to the Chabad community, expressing his sorrow over the terror attack in the Jewish center in the Indian city of Mumbai, which left six people dead.

The letter was handed over to Chabad emissary in Chicago, Rabbi Daniel Moskowitz."Michelle and I want to express our profound sorrow and heartfelt condolences over the terrible tragedy that befell the Chabad Lubavitch community, and indeed the entire Jewish community, last week in Mumbai," Obama wrote.

He went on to express his condolences to the Holtzberg and Rosenberg families, who lost their son and daughter in the Chabad center terror attack.

"We mourn the loss of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, and all their Chabad House guests, in these attacks. They were taken from us by terrorists with no regard for human life, and we must remain steadfast in support of efforts to bring the perpetrators of these attacks to justice."

Addressing the ultra-Orthodox organization's activity in Mumbai, Obama said, "In running the Chabad House in Mumbai, Gavriel and Rivka provided a home away from home for so many Jewish travelers, carrying out in their corner of the world Chabad Lubavitch's mission of service to the Jewish community. They gave selflessly of themselves to others, and touched many lives along the way.

The US president-elect concluded his letter by saying, "As you mourn and remember those we lost, you should know that so many Americans share your grief and pain. May their memories be a blessing."

Chabad's ties with the White House go far back. Many Americans view the late Lubavitcher rabbi as a particularly influential person. Since the 1970s, in honor of the rabbi's activity, his birthday is marked as a special education day.

Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Chabad’s representative in Washington and the person who founded the Capitol Jewish Forum, told Ynet about the connection between Chabad and the White House.

"Only recently the White House praised the Chabadniks' activity in the New Orleans floods and the resourcefulness they showed during the California fires, when they lent a hand to thousands of helpless people," he said.

Shemtov explained that the Jewish organization's connection with the White House was "Way beyond the traditional candle lighting and making the presidential kitchen kosher on Hanukkah."

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