Confirmed: Chabad Emissary Couple Killed in Mumbai


Confirmed: Chabad Emissary Couple Killed in Mumbai

Lubavitch HQ, NY

November 28, 2008

Remarks by Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky,

Chairman, of the worldwide Educational and Social Services arms of the Chabad-Lubavitch Movement

Friday, November 28, 2008 (12:30 pm)

With profound sadness and deep sorrow, we received the definitive news, just a short while ago, confirming the brutal murder of two of our finest, Rabbi Gavriel Noach, 29, and Rivkah Holtzberg, 26, our dear representatives in Mumbai, India, who served their community with love and devotion.

On behalf of their colleagues and fellow shluchim and shluchos around the world and on behalf of the entire world of Lubavitch, we express deeply heartfelt condolences to the parents and family of this beautiful, young couple, and to the families and loved ones of each of those who have been brutally murdered in this senseless, barbaric attack. In the traditional Jewish blessing to mourners: May G-d Almighty comfort you amongst all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

And may all those wounded in this horrible ordeal be blessed with a complete and speedy recovery.

We, indeed the entire world, were all praying until now that Gaby and Rivkah would be spared along with the remaining hostages. Alas, now the situation has changed. This news is fresh and the wound is raw.

Words are inadequate to express our outrage and deep pain, at this tragic act of cold-blooded murder of innocent men, women and children, fueled by causeless hatred.

The targeting by terrorists of foreign nationals, underscores the need for governments to work collectively to fight terrorism resolutely and effectively, so that the hands of those seeking to destroy life and disrupt peace will no longer reach their targets.

***

In 2003, shortly after their marriage, Gavriel and Rivkah heeded the call of the Lubavitch Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of blessed memory, and cheerfully gave up all the comforts of home and family, taking up residence at the other end of the world, to selflessly help others in need. In a very short time, their home and center became a thriving hub of goodness and kindness, as they dispensed their blend of gracious openheartedness to the local Jewish community and to thousands of tourists and business people who frequented Mumbai.

The Holtzbergs toddler son, Moshe’le, who was heroically rescued from the hell by his nanny, Sandra, will mark his second birthday tomorrow, on Shabbat, November 29. Today he became an orphan without a dad and mom to lovingly embrace him and celebrate with him.

The world of Lubavitch and our emissaries will adopt this beautiful young toddler, and assure him of the best possible upbringing into adulthood.

The outpouring of love and prayer from all around the globe, and from all quarters of society, during this trying time was heartening and supportive. It is a tribute to the selfless life the young couple led. In their memory, let us channel this unity into our own homes and communities, living our lives as they lived their short but productive lives.

As the Shabbat approaches, we call upon Jewish women and girls, to brighten the profound darkness the world is witnessing, and usher in the Shabbat by lighting the traditional Shabbat candles, 18 minutes before sunset. I am certain that this would be Gaby’s and Rivkah’s wish.

***

A word to our emissaries, our Shluchim and Shluchos all around the world. You know how to face adversity and challenges. Keep strong and continue to forge ahead with courage and fortitude in the service of our people and mankind, to make this world a better place to live -- for all.

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