Indian UN Ambassador Visits Chabad Officials, Holtzberg Family


by Baila Olidort - Chabad Lubavitch HQ, NY

March 25, 2009

(lubavitch.com) India’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Nirupam Sen, visited the Holtzberg family in Brooklyn Wednesday afternoon to offer his condolences on behalf of the Indian government, for the murders of Gabi and Rivki Holtzberg last November in the Mumbai terror attacks.

Mr. Sen, accompanied by Rabbi Yirmi Berkowitz of Lubavitch World Headquarters, later met with  Chabad-Lubavitch officials. The terrorist attacks on Mumbai, he said, “were a terrible shock for us."

He reflected on India's long, peaceful history with the Jewish people, tracing it back as far as the first Jews who came "when they were exiled by the Romans." Never did something like this happen, he said.  

“The best tribute to Chabad is to build the Chabad House again." He promised to  do everything in his power to facilitate assistance on both the municipal and federal levels for the rebuilding.

During an emotional meeting at the home of Rabbi Nachman and Mrs. Freida Holtzberg, the ambassador took time to learn more about Gabi’s life and background. He perused family albums and heard about his scholarly achievements and the extraordinary personal challenges that he and his wife Rivki, confronted.

"The parents of Gabi," said Mr. Sen, “have much to be proud of.”

Gabi’s sister, Nechama Popack, greeted the ambassador with thanks for representing a country that produced a hero “like Sandra Samuels, who saved the life of our Moshe.”

Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice Chairman of the Lubavitch Educational division, stated that "although  Gabi and Rivki's presence will never be replaced," activities are under way to prepare for rebuilding Chabad in Mumbai with full security arrangements.

Rabbi Abraham Berkowitz, Director of the Chabad Mumbai Rebuilding Fund told the ambassador that since the attacks, demand for the services of Chabad in India have dramatically increased. "We need to rebuild on a much greater scale so that Chabad of Mumbai will shine again."

Four others were also killed in the Chabad House during the terrorist seige. Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, Chairman of the Chabad-Lubavitch educational and social services division recalled that millions of people worldwide followed the attack on the Chabad House over the course of nearly three days, and responded with an outpouring of love and support that crossed all denominational borders.

“It was a tragedy that affected millions who are looking to see us rebound,” he said.

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