(lubavitch.com) If Israeli backpackers spurn Bangalore in favor of spicier locales in India, why is Chabad opening its next outpost there?
According to Rabbi Yosef C. Kantor, director of Chabad centers in the region, it’s because of the impact of Rabbi Gabi and Rivka Holzberg, slain leaders of Chabad of Mumbai.
“There is a small group of locals, expats and businessmen who used to come to Bombay,” to spend Jewish holidays with Chabad, Rabbi Kantor told Lubavitch.com by phone, “when it got big enough Gabi said we should open up something there.”
Rabbi Zvi and Noa Rivkin have already selected a location for their center in Bangalore, known as India’s Silicon Valley, so dense it is with high tech firms. The Rivkins spent the High Holiday season in Bangalore, attracting the nucleus of what will become their community. They returned to Israel so Mrs. Rivkin could give birth. Having welcomed a baby boy into the world last week, the young couple plans to return to India as soon as Mrs. Rivkin and the baby are up to the arduous task of setting up a Chabad center.
Back in Thailand from a fact-finding mission in Mumbai, Rabbi Kantor said he did not see or foresee a drop off in visitors to the Chabad centers in the region. If anything, numbers of visitors were slightly plumper because of Thailand’s main airports had only recently been freed from the clutches of anti-government protestors.
“Israelis are used to, unfortunately, rebounding from terror attacks,” said Rabbi Kantor. These intrepid travelers, most still fresh from their own tours of duty in the Israeli Armed Forces, do want to see “prominent security.”
Rabbi Kantor would not elaborate as to the nature of the security measures except to say that they are provided by local forces and others. “We are in close contact with the people we need to be in contact with. We have always taken security seriously, and obviously, now even more so.”