Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Chanuka in Mumbai

One Thousand Look On As Chabad kindles menorah in Mumbai

Lubavitch.com. Referred by R' Oliver

Mumbai, India—December 25--At the Gates of India Thursday evening, a crowd of approximately 1000 looked on in respectful curiosity as the fathers of the slain Gabi and Rivka Holtzberg lit the menorah.

The menorah lighting on this fifth night of Chanukah drew the attention of local Indians and visitors who frequented the Mumbai Chabad House, many still reeling from the recent terror attacks that put it in the limelight.

"This was the most moving menorah lighting I have ever been to," Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice Chairman of the Chabad-Lubavitch educational division, who flew from New York to participate, told Lubavitch.com

Earlier in the evening, in a more poignant setting, family, colleagues and friends of Gabi and Rivka who had come from Israel, New York, and other parts of the region, met at the Chabad House. The Chabad House is now in shambles, with signs of the calamity everywhere. As if to defy the aims to destroy this center of hospitality, the intimate group went up to the rooftop for an impromptu Chasidic farbrengen.

In a gesture richly symbolic of Chabad's determination not to let the evil of terror extinguish the light of Gabi and Rivkah, the hands of their parents reached out from the windows of the Chabad House—its façade now a familiar image to millions who had seen it under siege—to kindle its lights.

When asked by reporters if "Chabad is coming back to Mumbai," Rabbi Kotlarsky said, "We never left."

The Holtzbergs and the Rosenbergs are an inspiration, many say, determined as they are despite their great grief, to see Chabad's activities in Mumbai grow, and to ensure, says Rabbi Kotlarsky, that "The light of kindness and warmth that Gabi and Rivka radiated and that is yet very much alive, continues."

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