Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dozens of Gavriels and Rivkas join Chabad

Yoav Friedman

Since the death of Chabad emissaries Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg in Mumbai terror attacks, dozens of Hasidim families decided to name their newborn babies after envoys. 'This gives us great comfort,' says Rivka Holtzberg's mother

The death of Chabad emissaries Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg in the terror attack in Mumbai over a month ago touched the hearts of people from all sectors of Jewish society in Israel and around the world.

Many Chabad Hasidim decided to commemorate the couple by naming their newborn children after the envoys, and dozens of little Gavriel-Noachs and Rivkas have joined the Jewish movement in recent weeks, from Mexico and Guatemala to Britain and Israel.

Menachem Cohen, who edits the printed edition of Chabad's website COL, was recently approached by the Rosenberg and Holtzberg families who told him they have heard of several families who named babies after Gavriel and Rivka. They asked for the site's help in locating these families so that they could thank them personally.

The request was posted on the website, and within 24 hours dozens of responses from Chabad families worldwide had been received. Cohen decided to take the subject a step further - collect the babies' pictures and publish them online.

Rivka's mother, Yehudit Rosenberg, said that she was extremely moved when she heard of the families' decision. "Knowing that there are so many Rivkot and Gavriel-Noach out there just gives me emotional strength. It's like refreshing water to a tired soul. We know that in every new Rivka and Gabi there are sparks of our children's spirit and a continuation of them, and this gives us great comfort."

Rosenberg said that she and her husband and the Holtzbergs intend to stay in touch with the families who named their children after Rivka and Gavriel, send them a greeting card, a picture of Rivka and Gabi and a children's book on the virtue of giving.

"Of course we would have liked to see our children alive, but in the meantime the naming of the babies and the good decisions people take on themselves thanks to Gabi and Rivki give us strength," Rosenberg said. "With God's help, when the Messiah comes soon we will see our children again," she concluded.

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