"For a mitzvah is a candle and Torah is light"—Proverbs 6:23.

A few hours after the world learned the fate of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg and their four guests at the Chabad House of India, Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, Chairman of Merkos L'inyonei Chinuch, the worldwide educational and social services arms of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, held a press conference in Brooklyn, NY. After expressing his tremendous grief and sorrow, he issued the following call:

"As the Shabbat approaches, we call upon Jewish women and girls, to brighten the profound darkness the world is witnessing, and usher in the Shabbat by lighting the traditional Shabbat candles, 18 minutes before sunset. I am certain that this would be Gaby's and Rivkah's wish." (Click here to watch a video of the press conference.)

With these words, Rabbi Krinsky gave expression to the sentiments felt by all Chabad-Lubavitch chassidim: we will continue Gaby and Rivky's legacy of light. We will combat the darkness of terror by initiating massive campaigns to increase light and love.

The initiatives undertaken in honor of the Holtzbergs ranged from internationally coordinated campaigns to local ones. Such as Chabad of Southeast Nassau, NY's, newly created fund, named after the Holtzbergs, to aid parents enrolling their children in Jewish preschools. The thought behind it was inspired by the Holtzberg's 2 year old son, Moishele.

In this article we will highlight a few of these initiatives.

12,000 Mitzvot

In the hours and days following the senseless attack, people worldwide wanted to do something. Many donated funds to a special fund established to provide for Moishe'le, the Holtzbergs two-year-old son who was miraculously saved by his nanny, Sandra, and the reconstruction of Chabad of Mumbai.

But many people wanted to also do something in honor of the murdered.

In response to this demand, Chabad.org immediately launched a webpage where people could pledge to do a mitzvah in memory of those killed in the Mumbai Chabad House.

In the weeks that followed, more than 12,000 people visited the page and committed to do a mitzvah (good deed). The page offered a dropdown list of mitzvahs one could pledge to do as well as the option for people to choose the mitzvah of their own choice.

Hundreds pledged to study Torah, put up a mezuzah on their door, light Shabbat candles, give more charity, start donning tefillin, pray more often, light the Chanukah menorah and/or encourage others to light the menorah.

One woman wrote: "I didn't want to be pregnant again, but after Mumbai I thought that if wicked people took Jewish souls, I want to bring Jewish souls to this world! I'm pregnant again thank G‑d!!!"

Another pledged: "I am going to call my mother and my father every week to know how they are doing." Yet another wrote that "every night of Chanukah I will call one person who I think may be lonely and who will appreciate the call."

Click here to view the entire list.

Shabbat Candle Lighting

While all mitzvahs increase goodness and light, there is a mitzvah whose light can be visibly appreciated—that of lighting Shabbat and Holiday candles. This fulfillment of this mitzvah is the task of every Jewish woman and girl.

TheJewishWoman.org, Chabad.org's specialty site devoted to the needs of Jewish women, launched a campaign for women to light Shabbat candles in honor of Rivkah Holtzberg. "Keep Rivkah's light aflame and illuminate the world with her trademark warmth and peace through lighting YOUR candle," the site implored.

Nearly 4,000 women heeded the call and pledged to light Shabbat candles (click here to see the list).

Two weeks after the tragedy, Jewish residents of Russia's Far-Eastern city of Birobidjan gathered for a unique ceremony just before Shabbat to dedicate two giant electric candles in memory of Gavriel and Rivka. The city's mayor and other dignitaries joined Rabbi Mordechai Sheiner in unveiling the candles, which now shine every Friday night and holiday eve.

Torah Study

Soon after the tragedy, students throughout the Chabad-Lubavitch yeshivah system embarked on an unprecedented study cycle of Jewish law and Chasidic thought. Working in pairs, they divided up the Mishnah – a collection of rabbinical laws and enactments redacted in the second century C.E. – and its much-larger explanatory text known as the Talmud. They also studied the entire corpus of teachings – comprising hundreds of volumes – of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, who stressed in his teachings the importance of Jewish unity, especially in the face of tragedy.

Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries and their community members also signed up to several study programs after the tragedy.

The National Council of Young Israel, a network of Orthodox synagogues throughout the United States, embarked on its own study of the Mishnah in the merit of the six who died at the Chabad House. TheYeshivaWorld.com, a popular Web site that follows news of relevance to the Orthodox Jewish world, also launched a Mishnah study campaign.

Mumbai Mitzvahs

A Mitzvah Pledge Card in honor of the Holtzbergs, from Louisiana, NO
A Mitzvah Pledge Card in honor of the Holtzbergs, from Louisiana, NO

On December 7, 2008, Rabbi Daniel Moscowitz, regional director of Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois, embarked on a trip to visit the grieving families of the victims of the Mumbai tragedy. With him he carried a "suitcase of goodness," laden with hundreds of mitzvah pledge cards collected from participants in a Chicago memorial tribute and notebooks filled with letters of comfort and resolve from Chicago area Jewish day school students.

The Chabad on Campus International Foundation launched an emergency "Mitzvot for Mumbai" campaign. The drive featured a website packed with unique ideas and suggestions for those who wished to pledge a good deed in memory of the victims—such as lighting Shabbat candles, helping the elderly, giving charity, learning Torah, and encouraging Jewish men to don tefillin.

In February of 2009, the seventh and eighth grade classes from Longmeadow, Mass.'s Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy went on an 11-day tour of the Holy Land, during which they conveyed well-wishes from their local community to Moshe Holtzberg, the two-year-old son of the Holtzbergs, and his grandparents, Rabbi Shimon and Yehudit Rosenberg. They presented the family with an album of pictures of some 350 Longmeadow residents doing good deeds in memory of the Holtzbergs.

Also in February, nearly 3,000 Chabad-Lubavitch shluchot (women emissaries) gathered in New York for the annual International Conference of Shluchot. The conference was largely dedicated to the Holtzbergs, and its recurring theme was a passionate resolve on the part of all the shluchot to perpetuate their sister Rivky's holy work. An especially touching moment was when Rivky's best friend, Chani Lipshitz, a Chabad representative in Nepal, gave an emotional tribute to her fallen friend at the Conference's gala banquet.

Also at that banquet, a new initiative was unveiled by Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice Chairman of the Lubavitch educational division, aiming to promote the three mitzvot unique to the Jewish woman – Shabbat candle lighting, kosher and Family Purity – among all Jewish women.

As part of this initiative, the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute devised a new course – consisting of a text-based curriculum as well as a hands-on segment – for shluchot to teach the esoteric and practical aspects of these three commandments to women in their communities.

This initiative, called "Rivkah's Tent," morphed into a monthly program, devised and delivered by women to women.

Bring a Friend Shabbat!

"Six seats were tragically emptied... Let's fill those seats 1000 times over."

Under this rallying cry, Chabad on Campus will commemorate the first anniversary of the attack in Mumbai.

The terrorists struck the local Chabad House and killed the Holtzbergs and their four guests—murdered in cold blood because they were Jews.

On November 20, 2009, students worldwide will stand in solidarity and renewed commitment to rebuild and enhance Jewish life. Click here to join this campaign.