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December 26, 2014 / 4 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Chabad House’

Love The Victims, Loathe Their Killers

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

All terrorism is monstrous, but the murder in India of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg stands out for its unspeakable infamy. The deliberate targeting of a small Jewish center and its married young directors, whose only purpose was to provide for the religious needs of a community and feed travelers, proves that those who perpetrated this crime are bereft not only of even a hint of humanity, but every shred of faith as well.

The world’s most aggressive atheists are more religious than these spiritual charlatans and pious frauds. When Osama bin Laden, whose beard masks the face of the ultimate religious hypocrite, attacked the World Trade Center, the target was purportedly chosen as the very symbol of American materialism and excess.

But what could these “religious” people have been thinking in exterminating a twenty-something couple with two babies who moved from the world’s richest country to India to provide religious services and faith to the poor and needy? What blow against Western decadence were they striking by targeting a Chabad House – the entire purpose of which is to spread spirituality to people whose lives lack it?

Now is not only a time to remember the victims, but to hate their killers. One cannot love the innocent without simultaneously loathing those who orphan their children.

I know how uncomfortable people feel about hatred. It smacks of revenge. It poisons the heart of those who hate. But this is true only if we hate the good, the innocent, or the neutral. Hating monsters, however, motivates us to fight them. Only if an act like this repulses us to our core will we summon the will to fight these devils so that they can never murder again.

I am well aware that Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” But surely the great man never meant for this to apply to people like Hitler who was never going to be stopped by love but only by an eloquent loathing as articulated by Winston Churchill.

Indeed, had King’s non-violent movement not been protected, at crucial times, by Federal marshals and the National Guard, the terrorist thugs of the Ku Klux Klan might have killed every last one of them.

As for my Christian brethren who regularly quote to me Jesus’s famous saying, “Love your enemies,” my response is that our enemies and God’s enemies are different parties altogether. To love those who indiscriminately murder God’s children is an abomination against all that is sacred.

Is there a man whose heart is not filled with moral revulsion against terrorists who target a rabbi who feeds the hungry? Would God ask me to extend even one morsel of my limited capacity for compassion to fiends rather than saving every last particle for their victims instead? Could God really be so unreasonable as to ask me to love baby-killers? And would such a God be moral if He did?

Could I pray to a God who loves terrorists? Could I find comfort in Him knowing that He offers them comfort as well? No, such a “god” would be my enemy. And I would be damned before I would worship him. I will accept an eternity in purgatory rather than a moment of celestial bliss shared with these beasts.

Now is the time for Muslim clerics to rise in chorus and condemn the repulsive assassins who use Islam to justify their hatred.

One such courageous imam, and one of the North America’s most prominent, is my friend Imam Shabir Ali of Toronto who responded to my call with a public statement the day after the murders:

“Such terrorist attacks are not justifiable on any grounds. Islam cannot condone such murder of innocent civilians . Islam is built on the monotheist foundations which the Jewish people struggled for many centuries to maintain in the face of much severe opposition. Muslims and Jews should work together for a better world in which the terrorist acts we have seen in Mumbai this week are a thing of the past. I pray that the perpetrators will be brought to justice, and that the Lord with compensate the victims with a handsome reward in this world and the next.”

I suggest the best possible response by the world Jewish community to this travesty is to implement a program of a Jewish peace corps to Chabad Houses the world over. Young people, especially students ages 16 to 30, should offer to spend two weeks each summer volunteering for a Chabad House somewhere in the world to help the emissaries with their very difficult and important work. This past summer three of my teen children volunteered to work for Chabad in Cordova, Argentina, and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives.

Finally, the world witnessed how the Holtzbergs’ non-Jewish nanny, Sandra Samuels, saved their two-year-old Moshe’s life, running out with the child while risking being mowed down by machine-gun fire. In that instant, we saw how religious differences pale beside the fact that all of us are equally God’s children and how acts of courage and compassion are that which unite us.

As I write these lines, the State of Israel is being lobbied by the Holtzberg family to grant Ms. Samuels immediate citizenship. A hero of her caliber would be an honor to the Jewish state and the request should not be delayed by even a single day.


Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is founder of This World: The Jewish Values Network. His daily national radio show on “Oprah and Friends” can now be heard on Sirius 195 as well as XM 156.

Tears And Praise As Israeli Victims Of Mumbai Attack Are Laid To Rest

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

KFAR CHABAD, Israel – Rabbis wept, women wailed and Chabad faithful called for avenging the tragedy in Mumbai with holiness and love as thousands gathered here Tuesday for the funerals of the two Chabad emissaries killed in last week’s Mumbai terrorist attacks.

  The mourners came together under a sun-drenched Israeli sky in this Chabad-Lubavitch town near Tel Aviv. The bodies of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg were laid out side by side, wrapped in prayer shawls.

  The rabbis eulogizing the couple said the tragedy of their being killed in the house in which they had hosted and celebrated holidays with so many should be met by even more outreach by Chabad emissaries.

  “We need to have a revenge of light, an attack of holiness and love,” said Rabbi Naftali Liebsker, who helps coordinate Chabad emissaries worldwide. “Join us; that will be our answer.”

  Mourners appeared particularly aggrieved by the couple’s now-orphaned son, 2-year-old Moshe, who was spirited out of the Mumbai Chabad House during the attack by his Indian nanny.

  “The whole world and, of course, the Jewish people need an answer to the question asked by a 2-year-old child: ‘Where is my mother?’ ” President Shimon Peres said.

  Six Israelis were killed in the attack on the five-story apartment building that housed the Chabad center in Mubmai. Sandra Samuel, the Holtzbergs’ nanny, locked herself in a laundry room when the shooting began and heard Rivkah Holtzberg calling to her for help. Then she heard shots fired followed by an eerie silence. Samuel said she then crept out of her hiding place and found Moshe crying next to his parents’ bodies. She scooped the boy into her arms and fled the building.

  The footage of Moshe in his nanny’s arms was played repeatedly by Israeli TV stations. As part of the drama, cameras followed Moshe’s maternal grandparents preparing to leave Israel for India holding out hope that they would be reunited with their daughter and son-in-law alive.

  Instead they bid the couple final goodbyes at the funeral services at Kfar Chabad. Adding to the cruelty of her death, Rivkah – or Rivki, as she was called – was six months pregnant at the time of her murder.

  She and Gavriel, who like her was born in Israel but grew up in New York, had decided shortly after getting married to become emissaries for the Lubavitch movement.

  In a video of the couple taken about two years ago in their Mumbai home, they are seen beaming wide smiles.

 

 

Bodies of Mumbai victims arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport.

 

  A shot of Rivkah shows her bringing out a tray of Chanukah sufganiyot, jelly doughnuts. Gavriel describes the special sense of mission he feels helping out Israelis in distress, particularly those he would visit who were imprisoned in India, usually on drug-related charges.

  Yossi Katz, a geography professor at Bar-Ilan University, was with the couple on their last Shabbat. A frequent traveler and visitor to Chabad Houses around the world, he said he had been especially taken by the warmth and enthusiasm of his young hosts.

  Katz talked with the Holtzbergs about their sense of mission as Chabad emissaries.

  “Rivki said that being emissaries for them had become a way of life – not done in connection to something else, but their very lives,” he told JTA.

  Katz watched Rivkah explain the tenets of Judaism to Norma Shvarzblat Rabinovich, 50, a Jewish woman from Mexico planning to make aliyah who was visiting India. Rabinovich was killed at the Chabad House during the terrorist attack. She was buried Tuesday in Israel along with Yocheved Orpaz, 60, a mother of four from the Tel Aviv suburb of Givatayim who had gone to India to meet her daughter and two grandchildren who were traveling there.

 Two Israeli kashrut inspectors also were killed in last week’s attack. Aryeh Leibish Teitelbaum, 38, of  Jerusalem, and Bentzion Chroman, 28, of Bat Yam reportedly had stopped by the Chabad House to pray before catching a flight to Israel.

  Chroman, a kosher supervisor, is survived by his wife and three children.

  Teitelbaum, who is survived by his wife and eight children, was in charge of kosher supervision for a large American organization and had traveled for work to India via China.

  Teitelbaum’s family, members of the Satmar chassidic sect, caused some controversy in Israel when they requested that the Israeli flag not be draped on Teitelbaum’s coffin at a brief state ceremony at Ben-Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv on Monday night, when the bodies arrived in Israel.

  At Tuesday’s funerals at Kfar Chabad, Lubavitch officials announced that renovations of the Chabad House in Mumbai would begin immediately and that the building would be dedicated anew, renamed for Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg.

  One of the only items from the Chabad House to survive unscathed in the attack was a large, gilded framed picture of the late Lubavitcher rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson. It was seen in photos and footage after the attack propped on a chair surrounded by broken glass and blood-splattered, bullet-riddled walls.                                                               

(JTA)

Tears And Praise As Israeli Victims Of Mumbai Attack Are Laid To Rest

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

KFAR CHABAD, Israel – Rabbis wept, women wailed and Chabad faithful called for avenging the tragedy in Mumbai with holiness and love as thousands gathered here Tuesday for the funerals of the two Chabad emissaries killed in last week’s Mumbai terrorist attacks.


  The mourners came together under a sun-drenched Israeli sky in this Chabad-Lubavitch town near Tel Aviv. The bodies of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg were laid out side by side, wrapped in prayer shawls.


  The rabbis eulogizing the couple said the tragedy of their being killed in the house in which they had hosted and celebrated holidays with so many should be met by even more outreach by Chabad emissaries.


  “We need to have a revenge of light, an attack of holiness and love,” said Rabbi Naftali Liebsker, who helps coordinate Chabad emissaries worldwide. “Join us; that will be our answer.”


  Mourners appeared particularly aggrieved by the couple’s now-orphaned son, 2-year-old Moshe, who was spirited out of the Mumbai Chabad House during the attack by his Indian nanny.


  “The whole world and, of course, the Jewish people need an answer to the question asked by a 2-year-old child: ‘Where is my mother?’ ” President Shimon Peres said.


  Six Israelis were killed in the attack on the five-story apartment building that housed the Chabad center in Mubmai. Sandra Samuel, the Holtzbergs’ nanny, locked herself in a laundry room when the shooting began and heard Rivkah Holtzberg calling to her for help. Then she heard shots fired followed by an eerie silence. Samuel said she then crept out of her hiding place and found Moshe crying next to his parents’ bodies. She scooped the boy into her arms and fled the building.


  The footage of Moshe in his nanny’s arms was played repeatedly by Israeli TV stations. As part of the drama, cameras followed Moshe’s maternal grandparents preparing to leave Israel for India holding out hope that they would be reunited with their daughter and son-in-law alive.


  Instead they bid the couple final goodbyes at the funeral services at Kfar Chabad. Adding to the cruelty of her death, Rivkah – or Rivki, as she was called – was six months pregnant at the time of her murder.


  She and Gavriel, who like her was born in Israel but grew up in New York, had decided shortly after getting married to become emissaries for the Lubavitch movement.


  In a video of the couple taken about two years ago in their Mumbai home, they are seen beaming wide smiles.

 

 


Bodies of Mumbai victims arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport.

 


  A shot of Rivkah shows her bringing out a tray of Chanukah sufganiyot, jelly doughnuts. Gavriel describes the special sense of mission he feels helping out Israelis in distress, particularly those he would visit who were imprisoned in India, usually on drug-related charges.


  Yossi Katz, a geography professor at Bar-Ilan University, was with the couple on their last Shabbat. A frequent traveler and visitor to Chabad Houses around the world, he said he had been especially taken by the warmth and enthusiasm of his young hosts.


  Katz talked with the Holtzbergs about their sense of mission as Chabad emissaries.


  “Rivki said that being emissaries for them had become a way of life – not done in connection to something else, but their very lives,” he told JTA.


  Katz watched Rivkah explain the tenets of Judaism to Norma Shvarzblat Rabinovich, 50, a Jewish woman from Mexico planning to make aliyah who was visiting India. Rabinovich was killed at the Chabad House during the terrorist attack. She was buried Tuesday in Israel along with Yocheved Orpaz, 60, a mother of four from the Tel Aviv suburb of Givatayim who had gone to India to meet her daughter and two grandchildren who were traveling there.


 Two Israeli kashrut inspectors also were killed in last week’s attack. Aryeh Leibish Teitelbaum, 38, of  Jerusalem, and Bentzion Chroman, 28, of Bat Yam reportedly had stopped by the Chabad House to pray before catching a flight to Israel.


  Chroman, a kosher supervisor, is survived by his wife and three children.


  Teitelbaum, who is survived by his wife and eight children, was in charge of kosher supervision for a large American organization and had traveled for work to India via China.


  Teitelbaum’s family, members of the Satmar chassidic sect, caused some controversy in Israel when they requested that the Israeli flag not be draped on Teitelbaum’s coffin at a brief state ceremony at Ben-Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv on Monday night, when the bodies arrived in Israel.


  At Tuesday’s funerals at Kfar Chabad, Lubavitch officials announced that renovations of the Chabad House in Mumbai would begin immediately and that the building would be dedicated anew, renamed for Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg.


  One of the only items from the Chabad House to survive unscathed in the attack was a large, gilded framed picture of the late Lubavitcher rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson. It was seen in photos and footage after the attack propped on a chair surrounded by broken glass and blood-splattered, bullet-riddled walls.                                                               

(JTA)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/tears-and-praise-as-israeli-victims-of-mumbai-attack-are-laid-to-rest/2008/12/03/

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