I have been associated with the Chabad Lubavitch Jewish outreach organization since 1983. Over the course of time, I have met hundreds of Chabad rabbis, their wives and children and believe I've gained a unique perspective about their commitment and outreach to Jews and non-Jews around the world.

The recent horrific and tragic terrorist attacks in Mumbai both outraged and saddened me as I tried to fathom the heartbreaking loss of life. It now appears that more than 160 innocent lives were lost during the 48-hour siege. Among the slaughtered innocents were a Virginia father and daughter attending a religious conference and the local Chabad Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka.

Something was missing from my life

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 that have volunteered to leave the comfortable confines of their religious communities and move to lands far away to help their fellow Jews. They are charged with the responsibility of setting up "shop" many miles from traditional centers of Jewish learning. Sometimes they are the first rabbis to set foot in a city, state and/or country. Imagine what it must be like to move from your parents' home to Alaska, a place where there are more moose than there are Jews.

These rabbis and their families welcome Jewish men and women with open, loving, undemanding spiritual arms. Unconditional love and support is the norm. If I seem to be overzealous in my praise of Chabad, then I am guilty as charged. I had a bar mitzvah when I was 13 and on occasion, attended Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services. But that was the extent of my Jewish experience. Then many years ago I realized that I had a nagging, aching pain in my heart, a pain that no amount of personal success could repair. Yoga didn't ease the pain. Meditating didn't fill the void. Jogging endorphins didn't anesthetize the hurt. Something was missing from my life. I was drowning in a sea of despair.

And then a Chabad rabbi threw me a spiritual life preserver, literally saving my life. He served as my guide through a personal journey that has taken me to places I never dreamed possible. And throughout the journey, never once did he ask me for anything in return. He selflessly gave of himself and his family.

No matter your politics, religious affiliation or national origin, the taking of innocent lives is not okay

And just like the rabbi that helped me so many years ago, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his family were helping their fellow Jews in Mumbai. Since the dawn of humankind, people have been asking "Why do bad things happen to good people?" The scholars have their answers, religious leaders have theirs. I will not pretend to know.

What I do know is that no matter your politics, religious affiliation or national origin, the taking of innocent lives is not okay. There is a Talmudic expression that says, "Whoever destroys the life of a single human being, it is as if he had destroyed an entire world; and whoever preserves the life of a single human being ... it is as if he had preserved an entire world." In this case evil has claimed the lives of more than 160 people in an attempt to promote their own political agenda.

So what can we do right here in the Biggest Little City to send a message to those who advocate destroying anything they don't agree with? I say go out into the community and give charity, go spend quality time at your local house of worship, volunteer at a nonprofit organization, help those less fortunate, make a difference in someone's life, march through the streets of Northern Nevada and proclaim to the world that enough is enough! In short, make a difference.

Every journey starts with the first step. I implore you to take your own personal first step and let the terrorists know that no matter what they try to do, they will not and cannot succeed as long as righteous people around the world stand up against evil.