I was sitting in the office yesterday afternoon when I clicked on to cnn.com to check on what's happening. As the moderator of this news blog, I'm in the habit of checking the news a few times a day—always on the lookout for breaking stories or interesting news items.

The big red lettering sprawled across the top of the page immediately caught my attention. Another terror attack. A big one. at least 80 people killed, countless other injured, and many others taken hostage.

"Hello, I have a friend who I think might have been a victim of the shootings..."

"What a tragedy... what a crazy world," I thought to myself as I returned to the article I was in middle of editing. "When will all this madness and grief end?" I sighed to myself.

A few minutes later, I'm totally engrossed in my work again, and some snippets of conversation emanating from an adjoining cubicle pique my attention.

"Hello, I have a friend who I think might have been a victim of the shootings... Were any of the victims brought to your hospital?... Were any of them Jewish?"


It seems that they've been unable to establish contact with the Chabad-Lubavitch emissary to Mumbai. The shootings are in the vicinity of the Chabad House, and some of my co-workers were calling the various local hospitals, hoping for some information as to his welfare.

Not much work was accomplished in the office yesterday afternoon. Same story this morning. Eyes are glued to the various newscasts, as news slowly trickles in.

The Chabad House of Rabbi and Mrs. Holtzberg, the Chabad representatives in Mumbai, is occupied by terrorists. As I write these words, their fate is unknown. Thank G‑d, their young son escaped in the hands of a nanny a few hours ago. According to news reports, Indian commandos are preparing – or have already begun – to storm the Chabad House. We all hope and pray to hear good news very soon. May G‑d have mercy...

People just like me

A tragedy that is occurring 8,000 miles from me has hit home. An event that would have normally elicited from me a sigh and a few moments of thought is now consuming me. It's not "numbers" of casualties; it's real people with real faces. People just like me.

What is this supposed to teach me? Am I really expected to be this affected by every tragedy that is reported? Is that humanly possible? Would I be able to continue on with life in such a fashion?

I don't know.

I do know, though, that for the moment, I suddenly have perspective.

Meanwhile, let us continue saying Psalms and prayers for Rabbi & Mrs. Holtzberg – Gavriel Noach ben Freida Bluma and Rivkah Bas Yehudis – and all the others impacted by this monumental tragedy.

May G‑d have mercy.