Wednesday, April 29, 2009

'They helped Israel,' says father of Mumbai Chabad victims

By Haaretz Service

The father of Rifka Holtzberg, who was murdered alongside her husband Rabbi Gabriel Holtzberg during the attack on the Chabad House in Mumbai last year, said he was fortunate that his children had been sent to India as emissaries "to help the people of Israel."

Addressing a memorial ceremony at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem, Shmuel Rosenberg spoke of "a pain and longing that does not heal" but also of his pride for the Holtzberg couple.

"I was fortunate that my children Rivka and Gabi, were sent as emissaries of the Rebbe Lubavitch to Mumbai to help the people of Israel. To help any Jew in the Diaspora get in touch with their roots, with the people of Israel and the Land of Israel," he said.

The Holtzbergs were killed together when terrorists opened fire on the Mumbai headquarters of Chabad, but their toddler son Moshe was rescued by his Indian nanny Sandra who spirited him away from the beseiged building.

"God has given us a miracle, and has left us a piece of the family, little Moishe, who all of Israel has embraced," Rosenberg said. "Little Moishe is the son of all of the people of Israel and he symbolizes our perseverance."

Rosenberg praised Moshe's nanny Sandra, who rescued him during the attack. "Moshe was saved by a righteous gentile, Sandra, who is living with us now in our house and is a part of our family. We don't have the words to thank her, and we embrace her and have adopted her into our hearts."

The bereaved father vowed that he and his family would continue the work of his children, "in doing good deeds for others."

Nine people altogether were killed in the attack on the Chabad House in Mumbai, some dual citizens but all of them Jews.

173 people were killed in the attacks on India's financial center, and hundreds were wounded.

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