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Sunday, 30 November 2008
"He had been crying. He is too small, you see, and all this must be affecting him so much."

New York Daily News, November 29:

By Barry Keevins in Mumbai and Christina Boyle, Simone Weichselbaum and Oren Yaniv in New York (New York Daily News)  


Rabbi Gabriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka.

The bodies of the Brooklyn-raised rabbi and his wife who were murdered in Mumbai's terrorist massacre were found wrapped in prayer shawls after the hostage crisis ended, relatives said Saturday.

The rabbi wrapped the slain hostages with the shawls in the Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish center before being shot himself, his cousin told the Daily News.

The bodies of the couple, Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, and Rivkah, 28, were expected to be flown to the Holy Land for burial this week.

The bodies are being held in a Jewish facility by Chabad officials. Indian officials had insisted on performing autopsies on the bodies, which are prohibited by Jewish law, said a spokesman at the Chabad headquarters in Brooklyn.

As loved ones made funeral arrangements in India, the couple's orphaned son, Moshe, celebrated his second birthday yesterday in the care of his maternal grandparents.

"The boy's security is of utmost concern to us," said Jonathan Solomon, a prominent Jewish community leader.

"He had been crying. He is too small, you see, and all this must be affecting him so much."

Family members said the tot survived only because the nanny who rescued him showed up to work on her regular day off.

"It's a total miracle. She never works on Wednesday," said the rabbi's cousin Chesky Holtzberg, 33. "It's divine providence. Moshe is still alive due to her good deeds and good thinking."

The boy's parents were remembered yesterday for their courage in creating a place for Jewish business travelers and backpackers in India, a country that was not their home.

Shmulik Rosenberg, Rivkah Holtzberg's brother, said they were sent on a mission to provide Jewish travelers "with a kosher place to eat, a warm place to visit, put on phylacteries, hear a sermon or receive a blessing from a rabbi."

Holtzberg, who was raised in Crown Heights, was found dead with his wife and seven others in the Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish center Friday, three days after terrorists stormed the building during a series of coordinated citywide attacks that left at least 195 dead in Mumbai.

Indian commandos finally ended the siege by storming the center Friday.

The body of another former New Yorker, Rabbi Leibish Teitelbaum of Jerusalem, was also found in the building, along with that of Bentzion Chroman, an Israeli with dual U.S. citizenship.

Two other Americans, Alan Scherr, 58, and his daughter Naomi, 13, from Virginia, were also killed by terrorists who stormed a popular Mumbai tourist café.

Posted on 11/30/2008 9:16 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
30 Nov 2008
John M. J.

Grief, Hugh, this hits right in the gut, right where they want it to hit. If this was planned, as it seems that it was, then those poor Jewish folk were never going to get out of there alive no matter what the Commandos did, or didn't do. They were doomed right from the start simply because they were Jews at the mercy of Muslims.

It is probable that the autopsies, even though not approved of by the particular faithful involved here, may prove to be valuable for they will tell us precisely when these people were slaughtered, murdered, by their captors. If they were murdered at some time before the Commandos rapelled onto the building then that copiously proves my point. Actually, thinking about it, that they were murdered at all copiously proves my point.

Let us remember young Moshe Holtzberg and, as he grows up with what is left of his family, let us offer him all the support that we can. He has a right to call upon us for help, a right which transcends race and religion - a right of common humanity, as do all involved in this and many other Islamic, sociopathic and violent acts against ordinary human beings.

But remember for his parents sake the Mourners' Kaddish:

Glorified and sanctified be G-d's great name throughout the world which H- has created according to H-s will. May H- establish H-s kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon; and say, Amen.

May H-s great n-me be blessed forever and to all eternity.

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored and lauded be the n-me of the H-ly O-e, blessed be H-, beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen.

May there be abundant peace from Heaven, and life, for us
and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

H- who creates peace in H-s celestial heights, may H- create peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.