Personal Reflections

Reflections on the Mumbai Terror Attacks. How do we react? How do we forge ahead? What lessons are we meant to take from this incomprehensible tragedy?

The Day I Finally Grew Up
A personal tribute to Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg
A Wicked World
At first, the terror targeted only Jews in Israel. The world – humanity, so called – barely reacted. People grew accustomed to reading about Jewish blood flowing freely. The price for that complacency is being paid now...
Is It Okay to Laugh Yet?
Can we laugh yet? Is it acceptable to be silly, to joke around? Is it proper and respectful to resume life as we once knew it?
A Letter to Rivka Holtzberg
Two weeks ago, I did not know you. Now, I am searching your beautiful face, reading about you everywhere, haunted that a Jewish sister was murdered because of who she was, and the goodness she did...
Remember Baby Moshe
The most significant memories that will remain with baby Moshe will be the images of his loving parents welcoming guests with a warm smile, a hug and a kiss...
A Letter Sent to Rabbi Rosenberg, Father of Rivky Holtzberg
"If this is how we mourn in Judaism, then I want to be a Jew. And if this is how they weep and eulogize in the Chabad movement, then today, I would like to be connected to your movement, Rabbi."
Call-up for Candle Lighters
The military terminology isn't metaphorical. Only those with a soldier's strength and stoicism can take on the harsh conditions, the constant discomfort of blazing trails of Judaism through rugged terrain...
Jumping Out of Bed
I feel so tired. But something pulls me out of my slumber, out of the haze, the grumbled good morning and the fantasy of even five more minutes of sleep...
Joining the Orphans of Israel
When we beg G‑d in our daily prayers to gather the Jews from the four corners of the earth, we dare not dream of the return of an orphan baby with his righteous Indian nanny to his mother's birthplace...
Life After Mumbai
We sat in the large ballroom-dining room at the convention, asking for second helpings of gefilte fish... We talked, laughed, sang traditional Shabbat hymns. While underneath it all, the soul seethed, churned, screamed.
In the Wake of Mumbai
Pain packs a punch, and it has an intensity that's waiting to be channeled
Like Our Patriarch Isaac
Our collective hearts are broken over this tragedy. The Holtzbergs lived the life of our Patriarch Isaac. They lived a life of sacrifice, and unfortunately, died that way as well.
My Jewish Blood Isn’t Cheap
The brittle fanatic minds that countenanced the Mumbai massacre were too inept to have realized the irony and paradox of their target.
Calling All Cynics
He transformed my why why why to wow wow wow. Turning negative into the positive, up to down, in to out, physical to spiritual—this is the magic of Judaism...
Chabad's Happy Warriors Don't Surrender
Chabad doesn't quit. They stood their ground in Czarist Russia, and they didn't quit after the Holocaust. Chabad doesn't quit even in Islamic countries that might blow up any minute...
Senseless Love
Video | 4:00
Senseless Love
How to Combat Absolute Evil
Is there someone whom you have something against? A grudge, or a hurt that you harbor in your heart? Isn't it time we all got past our petty limitations to find the connecting threads of unity that connect us all?
And Nonetheless . . . It Happened
We have calculations, logical ones, Torah-based ones, that we are certain about and we have a license to be. We know certain things can't happen... You're right, says the Talmud. But . . . nonetheless . . . it happened...
Words May Fail Us, But Actions Cannot
We can all put our grief, our disbelief, our desire to do something into action—and we must do it quickly. Send money to a Jewish cause. Spend some time telling your parents, children, and friends how much you love them...
A Shliach to the World
For the past five years, Rabbi Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg were the Rebbe's shluchim, emissaries or ambassadors, to Mumbai, India. As of today, however, they have become his emissaries to the world.
No Last Respects For Mumbai Couple
Maybe I'm crazy, maybe I'm just ranting, but you heard it here first: one day the children of those who sought harm will benefit from the legacy that Gabi and Rivky left behind. And that will be the sweetest revenge of all
Taking a Stand
They had no idea of how gentle and loving were the souls they would soon cut down. Little did they realize that had circumstances been different they would have been greeted with warm smiles and invited for a home-cooked meal...
Dear G‑d,
I realize now that You have given virtually these same tests to the Chabad Shluchim (emissaries) in the same manner that You gave them to Abraham...
The Questions that We Need to Ask
Tragedy in Mumbai
I assumed that once my son would hear of the terrible murders, he would be filled with questions and doubt. And, my young but intelligent son did have questions. Many questions. And sad questions.
A Letter to Moishe'le
Moishele, the only words of comfort that we can offer you is that wherever you go in this world, you will always have thousands of mommies and tatties and brothers and sisters who will welcome you with open arms and loving hearts, just like your parents did for every single person
Sandra Samuel: A Heroine in Mumbai
It would have made most sense for Sandra Samuel to get out of there as quickly as possible. But she didn't. She couldn't. Little Moshe'le was calling her name...
Letter From a Chabad Rabbi
What does this mean for us? For our mission?
The Mumbai Terror Attacks: A Jewish Response
How do we view tragedy? What does the wisdom of the Torah suggest our responses be?
Grim. Erev Shabbat.
I am sure that there on the other side of the globe competent people are going about that grim task. We sit here and we watch them without seeing
A Prayer in Darkness
If to You the darkness is as light, it is not to me; the darkness comes hard...
Add Light
In Memory of Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg
We cannot change what has happened. But we can determine how we react to this tragedy. Please think about what you can do to bring more light to this darkness. Please share below what you are doing in memory of the Mumbai victims and for Gavriel and Rivka...
Broken But Not Crushed
Tragedy in Mumbai
We are left with questions--heavy, unbearable and haunting questions. But if we succumb to doubt, pain and immobility, we give greater power to the evil around us...
Enough is Enough!
The Anguish of Unanswered Questions
A Crown Heights resident was killed in cold blood by an assailant. And the Rebbe spoke. He was trembling, even his lectern was shaking...
Spiritual Lifesavers
I will leave it to smarter and more informed scholars to debate the politics of the world and what led to this senseless slaughter. Instead, I would like provide some perspective about these Chabad rabbis and their families...
Tragedy in Mumbai
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...
A Tragedy Survivor’s Guide
From Guilt to Gold
They took all of us hostage and showed no mercy. And like little Moshe Holtzberg, some of us managed to get away. The question now is: "What do we do with that freedom?"
What is our response to the massacre?
A response to the question "why?"
Once you are at war, you don’t stop to ponder all over again. Now you are out there on the field of battle, there is no turning back....
Where did all our prayers go?
I was praying for Rabbi and Mrs. Holtzberg and all the other Jewish people in Mumbai asking for G‑d to help them. Why didn't He listen to me and the many others who prayed to him and asked for their lives to be saved?
Why weren't they protected?
If hundreds of thousands of Jews were praying for them, and Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka were doing G‑d's work, why take them and hurt their child? I Don't get it
In Memory of the Mumbai Martyrs
This has been the story of our history ever since. They think they can squash us. They think we are weak. They never succeeded. They never will.
May the Almighty Console Us All
Our hearts and prayers go out to all the innocent victims and their families of the brutal attacks throughout Mumbai, India. But this one strikes way too close to home
Another Day of Pain
Here we sit, yet again, in a state of intense emotional pain, sadness, anger, and frustration. Here we sit, yet again, contemplating the evil senselessness of Islamic terror
Devoted Emissaries
Today, the wound is too raw for me to share any words of consolation or explanation. I do know what the Rebbe would say: Take an action against this senseless act of terrorism
A Place I Never Saw Changed My Life
I divide my life into "before" and "after" the terror attacks in Mumbai.
Special section to remember the cruel murders of Gavriel (Gabi) and Rivky Holtzberg, beloved directors of Chabad of Mumbai. The story of the Holtzbergs' legacy of light.
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