Mumbai attacks remembered in Chestnut Ridge

Posted Wednesday, Dec 2nd, 2009
Lower Hudson Journal news

Mumbai attacks remembered in Chestnut Ridge

Akiko Matsuda
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CHESTNUT RIDGE - Rabbi Chaim Zvi Ehrenreich has been reaching out to fellow Jews in Rockland, urging them to appreciate their heritage and honor the memory of those lost in a terror attack in India a year ago.

Ehrenreich, who leads the Chabad Jewish Enrichment Center, said he believed that the killings of his counterpart in Mumbai, Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg, and his wife, Revkah, should always be remembered.

Responding to Ehrenreich's call, more than 30 people Sunday afternoon filled the small sanctuary at the center on Whitefield Road to commemorate the ultimate sacrifice that the Holtzbergs made while serving Jews who lived in and visited Mumbai.

"We were looking for something to do in memory of the Holtzbergs. Something unique and everlasting," Ehrenreich said. "We have to eternalize their memory."

The Holtzbergs, who ran the Chabad House in Mumbai, were among the 166 people who were killed in November 2008.

In all, six people died at the Chabad House. The couple's infant child, Moshe, narrowly escaped the attack.

The Chestnut Ridge center was recently renovated, and Ehrenreich decided to rededicate the center in memory of the Holtzbergs. A mezuzah was installed and a memorial plaque with the couple's names was unveiled during the ceremony.

Ehrenreich told the audience that the challenge the Holtzbergs faced in Mumbai should be duplicated in other parts of the world.

"What's special about Israel? It's a holy place. Being there, we have an opportunity to be holy ourselves. ... But being outside of it and making that place holy, that is really facing the challenge," Ehrenreich said.

Ehrenreich said although he had never met the Holtzbergs, he spoke with Gavriel Noach Holtzberg on the phone once on behalf of an American visitor who lost his luggage in India.

"It was in the middle of the night, and the line was very difficult to get through," Ehrenreich said. "But he got back to me, and he helped out."

Julie Schwartz, who was visiting her parents, Robert and Barbara Soltz of Chestnut Ridge, from Israel, was among the participants in the memorial.

Schwartz said she got the rabbi's message.

"Acts of terror will not stop Jewish people from reaching out to other Jews to support their spiritual enrichment," Schwartz said.

Marty Kossover of Nanuet said the commemoration event gave him an opportunity to think about the incident in Mumbai.

"We somehow have to make sense of their sacrifice, what it really meant," Kossover said.

The ceremony was followed by the showing of a live webcast titled "Mumbai Memorial Tribute," sponsored by Chabad's Rohr Jewish Learning Institute. The one-hour program included remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as the chief rabbis of Israel, Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar.

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