Just four weeks ago my husband and I were eating dinner at Chabad Mumbai with Gabi and Rivki. We were in Mumbai for the last two days of our trip to India. We had not intended to even go to Chabad but we ended up there quite a lot during our two day visit - only because we felt so welcomed by Gabi and Rivki.

We arrived in Mumbai, a new city we were still unfamiliar with. Colaba, the area where the backpackers stay, is a lot bigger and busier than any of the places we had been. The hotel we wanted to stay at was full and instead of carrying our backpacks through the busy dirty streets we decided to find the Chabad and ask if we could leave our bags there while we looked for a place to sleep.

We entered the second floor dining area and Rivki saw us with our bags, and before having a chance to ask if we can leave our bags, Rivki immediately told us we can put them upstairs in the computer room. We went to the 3rd floor and left our bags with the other backpacks that were already there and came back down to the dining room where Rivki offered us tea, coffee, and water. After resting a bit on the couch, Rivki directed us to the hotels which are popular with Israelis.

We left Chabad and as we were going through the colorful Indian market we saw cages of live chickens, and there was Gabi, a chassid in billy boots, engaged in shchita (ritual slaughter) with the Indians.

When travelling in such a foreign place, it's so nice to have a place that you belong to, a place to feel 'safe'

After finding a room, we went back to the Chabad House and asked Gabi if we could keep our bags there for the night since we were flying the following night and could only leave our bags in the hotel till the morning. We relaxed on the couch, spoke with Gabi, checked our emails on the computer and finally went on our way to discover Mumbai.

In the evening we met some other Israelis we knew and they told us they were going to Chabad to have dinner. We decided to join for the company of other people. This night was also the first night of the Indian Diwaly festival, their new year where they decorate their homes with lights and light fireworks. After dinner we went to the roof with Rivki and watched the fireworks around the city. It was a lovely evening.

In the morning we returned to Chabad to leave our small overnight bags as Rivki was leaving with Moshe for a walk. We spoke some more with Gabi and then left for our last day of shopping. We ate dinner again that night at Chabad, arranged our bags, and said our good byes.

Gabi and Rivki had made us feel so comfortable and welcome to come in and out of their home so freely. We enjoyed talking and being there with them. We were really overwhelmed with warmness from them and for what they do for all the strangers that come in and out of their home. When travelling in such a foreign place, it's so nice to have a place that you belong to, a place to feel 'safe.'

Amy Caron-Shif, Tel Aviv, Israel