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World Leaders React to Terrorist Attacks

World Leaders React to Terrorist Attacks

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U.S. President George W. Bush and Laura Bush extend thier condolences from the South Lawn of the White House. (Photo: White House/Joyce N. Boghosian)
U.S. President George W. Bush and Laura Bush extend thier condolences from the South Lawn of the White House. (Photo: White House/Joyce N. Boghosian)

U.S. President George W. Bush:

“On behalf of all Americans, Laura and I extend our condolences to those suffering from the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. We mourn those who lost their lives, including American citizens. We pray that the injured will recover. We pledge the full support of the United States as India investigates these attacks, brings the guilty to justice, and sustained its democratic way of life.

“My administration has been monitoring the situation in India closely since the attacks on Wednesday. On Thursday morning, I spoke to Prime Minister Singh from Camp David. I sent our heartfelt condolences to the Prime Minister. This morning, I held a videoconference with Secretary Rice, our Ambassador to India, our Consul General in Mumbai, and other national security officials. We reviewed the latest developments, and we are working to ensure that American citizens in India are safe. Throughout the process, we have kept President-Elect Obama informed.

“The killers who struck this week are brutal and violent, but terror will not have the final word. People of India are resilient. People of India are strong. They have built a vibrant, multiethnic democracy that can withstand this trial. Their financial capital of Mumbai will continue to be the center of commerce and prosperity." …

The White House

Washington

December 1, 2008

Laura and I send our condolences to the Chabad-Lubavitch family and all those honoring the lives lost in this tragedy.

The compassionate individuals of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement dedicate their lives to sharing G-d’s teachings with people throughout the world, offering strength, hope and guidance in the unique spirit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of blessed memory. Through countless acts of love and kindness, the lost members of the Chabad-Lubavitch community in Mumbai represented the best of the human spirit, and their memories will live on in the hearts and souls of those they touched.

It is impossible for us to make sense of the violence of the Mumbai terrorist attack, yet we offer our deepest sympathy to the Chabad-Lubavitch community during this difficult time. We pray that you will be comforted by your fond memories of those lost, encouraged by their noble legacy, sustained by your faith, and lifted by the support of your loved ones.

May G-d bless you and all those affected by these horrific attacks.

George W Bush

The Office the President Elect

December 3, 2008

Dear Friends:

Michelle and I want to express our profound sorrow and heartfelt condolences over the terrible tragedy that befell the Chabad Lubavitch community, and indeed the entire Jewish community, last week in Mumbai. We mourn the loss of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, and all their Chabad House guests, in these attacks. They were taken from us by terrorists with no regard for human life, and we must remain steadfast in support of efforts to bring the perpetrators of these acts to justice.

In running the Chabad House in Mumbai, Gavriel and Rivka provided a home away from home for so many Jewish travelers, carrying out in their corner of the world Chabad Lubavitch's mission of service to the Jewish community. They gave selflessly of themselves to others, and touched many lives along the way. As you mourn and remember those we lost, you should know that so many Americans share your grief and pain.

May their memories be a blessing. Sincerely,

Barack Obama

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert:

“Last week was marked by among the most serious terrorist attacks India has ever known in Mumbai and which were the product of extremist Islam – brutal and unrestrained, which tries to sow death and destruction wherever it can. There is no doubt that these attacks were designed, inter alia, to intentionally harm Jewish institutions. The hatred of Jews, the state of Israel, and Jewish symbols is still a factor that spurs and encourages such murderous acts.”

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown:

“I think I speak for the whole world: shock and outrage at the tragic destruction of innocent lives. I have already sent my sympathy and support to Prime Minister Singh of India and to say we will do everything we can to help the Indian government.

“Our first duty is towards British people caught up in this terror in Mumbai. … It is too early to say any numbers for the numbers of people who are injured – we will give that during the course of the day. What I can assure you is we are doing everything within our power.”

U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama:

“Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the loved ones of the American citizens who lost their lives in the outrageous terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Our thoughts and prayers are with them, and with all who have been touched by this terrible tragedy.”

New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton:

“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families touched by these acts of terror in Mumbai. We still do not know the full measure of this tragedy, which has taken the lives of Indian citizens, Americans, and others who had traveled to Mumbai from around the world. Two New Yorkers, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and Rivka Holtzberg of Brooklyn are among those who have died, leaving behind their young son. The young couple had traveled from Brooklyn to manage a small Chabad house, welcoming Jews from India and elsewhere to learn, pray, and serve the community.

“There could be no sharper a reminder, nor a more poignant call to action, than the brutal and heinous violence visited upon the Nariman House and the Holtzberg family, living and working in Mumbai on a mission of peace, scholarship, and spiritual guidance.

“As those responsible are brought to justice, as we aid and support the victims and their families, as we work to defeat radical extremism and the terror it spawns, let us find strength in knowing that in the face of those who seek to take lives, there are those who seek to give hope and comfort. In the face of those who wish only to destroy, there are individuals like Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and Rivka Holtzberg who travel great distances far from their homes to build a better world.”

Hillel President Wayne L. Firestone:

“The students, professionals and lay leaders of the Hillel movement around the world express our profound condolences to the family of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg and to the Chabad-Lubavitch organization on the tragic murders of these Jewish leaders who died al kiddush Hashem, for the sanctification of G-d’s name, while serving as emissaries in Mumbai.

“The Holtzbergs gave up the comforts of life in the West to share their love of Yiddishkeit and the warmth of their family with people of all backgrounds in India. They made the ultimate sacrifice for their faith and their community. They lived and died as exemplars of the Jewish people. May their souls be bound up in the eternal bonds of life and may their family be comforted among the mourners of Zion.

“Hillel encourages our local professionals and students to express their condolences in personal visits to our Chabad counterparts on campuses and in communities around the world.

“Nothing can mitigate the horror of this savage terrorist attack which has claimed the lives of over 100 innocent people across Mumbai. Hillel stands in solidarity with the people of India as they heal their wounds and comfort those in grief.”

Israeli Consul to the Southwest Asher Yarden

The terrorist attack in Mumbai last week, that took the lives of over 170 people, was meant to destroy the lives of as many civilians as possible. In addition to Indians, there were nationals from 24 different countries killed or injured. The targets which were chosen, among them the Taj Hotel, Victoria Railway Station, the Oberoi Trident Hotel, Leopold Cafe, and Nariman House, known to us as the Chabad House, were all places of gathering for Westerners who visit India. However, Chabad House is different in a sense that there, and only there, will one find a concentration of Israelis and Jews - and this was another objective of the terrorists, not necessarily secondarily - to murder as many Israelis and Jews at a Chabad Center.

Have they succeeded? Well, they certainly spread anguish and agony among the mourning families of the victims and among Israelis and Jews worldwide, but they have not deterred a single Israeli or Jew from traveling to India. Nor have they deterred the Chabad movement from continuing and even strengthening their mission.

During the memorial service at the Chabad Center in Houston, those present were notified of a new Chabad House which is soon to open in Pearland, TX. May this be the message to the perpetrators of the massacre in Mumbai, their accomplices and the people who sent them.

Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio R. Villaraigosa

A Memorial Resolution

On behalf of the city of Los Angeles, I join in mourning the tragic loss of Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, Rivkah. Their work in Mumbai reflected the best values of the Jewish people. They took in the sick and helped the weary; they welcomed strangers in a strange land; they spread the vision of Tikkun Olam and Tzedakah-of repairing the world and pursuing justice-to the heart of a faraway nation.

Their righteous work must not be overshadowed by the terrorism that claimed their lives. I offer my heartfelt condolences to the entire Chabad-Lubavitch community and to everyone who was touched by the lives of Gavi and Rivkah Holtzberg. They were loved by many around the world and will truly be missed.

May you find strength in the thoughts and prayers of family and friends. May you live by the light of their achievements from generation to generation, and may their memories be a blessing for us all.

Zichronam livracha.

Antonio Villaraigosa
Mayor
November 30, 2008

Letter Addressed to Wizo World President Helena Glaser by Yael Jhirad, President Wizo India

Dear Helena,

As our first delegate attends the Aviv seminar for the very first time,Wizo India is shell shocked at the happenings here in Mumbai where terror has shown its terrible face in the land of peace and non violence of Mahatma Gandhi.

As the city bleeds we mourn the death of our WIZO friend and supporter of the Wizo chaverot here in Mumbai, Rabbanit Rivka Holtzberg And her dear husband Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg.

You will remember Rivka as she had been present on our foundation laying meeting here in Mumbai when you were with us.

She encouraged me whole heartedly to participate and inaugurate the activities here in India.

Wizo chaveroth will miss her deeply and will always have fond memories of here.

I am personally going to miss her among us forever and the women who interacted with here will miss her and her beloved husband deeply.

May their family members have strength to bear the loss of this young couple.

Pray that all the citizens of Mumbai get the strength to recover from these horrendous events of the last few days.

Thank you once again for your phone inquiring about all of here personally and also from the World WIZO headquarters which is much appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

Yael Jhirad
President
Wizo India

From the Jewish Federation of Rockland County

The Jewish Federation of Rockland County shares its shock and sadness in response to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. These senseless, barbaric acts of violence are absolutely appalling to all of us in the Jewish community of Rockland County. We offer our condolences to all of the victims of the Mumbai attacks and mourn this tragic and senseless loss of life. We are deeply saddened at the losses of at least five members of our worldwide Jewish community, including Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka at the Chabad Nariman House.

We offer our solidarity to the good people of India and to the Chabad community whose Mumbai Chabad house was specifically targeted. We pray for the families of all of the victims of this tragic attack that they may find comfort and consolation at this difficult time.

Once again, we are reminded that Jews worldwide are particularly targeted by terrorism, and that we must be vigilant in all efforts to root out this evil and end it forever.

Carol Blau
President
Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of Rockland County

Alpah Epsilon Pi

To our Dear Friends and Brothers at Chabad on Campus,

The brothers of Alpha Epsilon Pi are saddened and outraged over the murder of Rabbi and Rebbetzin Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg at the Nariman House in Mumbai, India. The Rabbi and Rebbetzin were models of devotion to the Jewish people, and they made an indelible impact on the Jewish community of Mumbai and on the many Jewish travelers who passed through her gates. They sacrificed and toiled for the holy cause of Jewish continuity, and ultimately, they gave their lives for Kiddush HaShem.

Alpha Epsilon Pi is proud to be an international partner agency of Chabad on Campus. In these dark hours of tragedy, we extend our most heartfelt condolences to Chabad communities throughout the world and to all who had the privilege of knowing the Holtzbergs. Their families and loved ones are in our prayers. And let the message go forth that the murder of these brave and pious souls will cause us all to redouble our efforts in the fight for Jewish spirituality here and everywhere around the world.

May the memory of the Holtzbergs provide continued inspiration on behalf of the causes to which they so lovingly devoted themselves. Zekher Tzaddiqim Livrakha.

Most Fraternally,

MARK H. SCHIFF
International President

ELAN S. CARR
International Secretary

ANDREW S. BORANS
Executive Director

Andrew S. Borans
Executive Director
Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity

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Chabad.org Staff
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Discussion (4)
December 2, 2008
Now What?
Will no leader have the courage to stand up to these atrocities and commit to actually do something about them? Sympathies are only empty words when they are not supported by much needed action.

I question why these leaders send their sympathies to the Prime Minister of India. The leadership of India had the authority and power to stop this terror within hours of it beginning. But they didn't. They allowed 60 hours to pass without helping the tortured victims. They prevented skilled Israeli professionals from possibly saving the hostages. And, when they finally, after three grueling days, decided to go into the building, they carelessly blew up walls possibly killing some who could have otherwise survived.

I send no sympathies to the leadership of India. I think the world should strongly criticize their lack of response to these acts of terror, and should hold them accountable for the many tragic deaths. Are they promising to find the terrorists that are still at large? Has anyone committed to go after the masterminds of these crimes and bring them to justice?

If this is not done, what retribution will these murderers receive? What is the message to others like them? And who, what will prevent this from occurring again... tomorrow?
Fay
Brooklyn, NY
December 2, 2008
Muslim Extremists' threat to hurt Jews of Canada
and who knows where else, I'm wondering, should the Jews who go to pulic jewish places to pray or study start carrying guns with them for protection? We've had enough incidents world wide that would justify such measures. I am a woman, but I'm starting to consider learning how to shoot a gun, in my eyes, it seems like the situation can only get worse. It has been said that one of the biggest signs of the coming of Mashiach will be Mohammad's sword pointing at the world, I read this in the book entitled The Rambam. I don't feel safe and many shulls don't take measures to protect themselves properly, perhaps this could be a wake up call to take some precautionary measures so that we are better prepared should the radicals try to strike again. Shalom.
Mrs. Teitelbaum
Pheonix, Arizona
December 1, 2008
Security for Chabad and all Jewish Institutions
How many more of our sacred institutions need to be targeted? How many more must perish?

The hatred of Jews around the world is paramount, yet, we continue to have facilities without security. We, as Jews, need to be aware we may be victimized at any time; merely as we are Jewish.

Common sense dictates we need armed security at all of our institutions, so this way, we may be safe. This is especially needed when thinking of our Chabad houses world-wide.

Chabad is an awesome organization, but we need to protect our Rabbi's and their families from needless slaughter. Perhaps we should rethink our design of Chabad buildings and have trained security personnel to ensure safety. We, as a community, must secure our environment, especially when so many of the world seek to eradicate us.
Not given for security reasons
Miami, FL
chabadindia.org
December 1, 2008
The Destruction Of Humanity In Our Own Eyes
This tragedy and the loss of innocent lives in the hands of the evil Islamist Jihadists in Mumbai, India is worsened by the reluctance of the media to connect it to the Islamic Faith. The further destruction of the world conscience is also the concurrent action by the UN in passing 6 Resolutions to condemn the Jewish State of Israel. Note the countries who voted against and the many others who approved of these shameful UN Resoulutions. What is happening to our human conscience in the world politics? Hating America, Israel and the West is a cancer destroying human progress and our world civilization. Unfortunately the diplomatic world today is not identifying this evil by name and worst, not courageous and truthful enough to confront it as we confronted and defeated Nazism by 1945.
Felix Diawuoh (Ghana)
Colorado Springs, CO/USA
chabadindia.org
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