By the time I had unpacked my things, showered and changed, the sun was beginning to set. I had 14 minutes to make my way across downtown Mumbai in a sweltering mix of heat and traffic. I think that by some Divine rule, a Jew must always rush to make it in time for Shabbat. Whether sundown be at 8:15, or 4:30, there is never enough time in a Friday to get all you need done. I guess you could say I was fulfilling my Jewish heritage by scrambling down the hotel stairs and hailing down a cab like a madman. A few minutes and 500 rupees later, I was outside the Chabad house. As I walked up the stairs of the 3 story building, a familiar smell crept under my nose, and a smile instantaneously spread across my face.

I had first set out to India from Jerusalem. It was towards the end of my first year in yeshiva, when the opportunity presented itself to tour India with a group of college students, who like me, were interested in entering the medical field. Well aware of the dietary constrictions India would pose on me, I packed two suitcases. One with clothes, and the other stuffed to the gills with tuna and granola. After 1500 miles of touring and 10 days of nothing but trail mix and Chicken of the Sea, the aroma of Friday night dinner brought me back to the Holy Land, and infused in me a spirituality that could not be matched by all the temples in India.

As we sat down and began our Shabbat meal, I stopped for a moment. Here I was in Mumbai, India, sitting down for a Shabbat meal with 20 other Jews, in a land barren of Judaism. Traveling through a foreign land, without fellow Jews, synagogues or kosher food made me homesick. The very sight of kosher meat made me giddy. We sang songs, ate to our hearts' content, and spoke of Torah. I met people from many different backgrounds and countries. One man was nice enough to walk me back to my hotel, which was about 3 miles away from the Chabad House.

After I changed into my pajamas and tucked myself in to bed, I laid awake for a while. For some reason or another, I had taken for granted the fact that a Chabad House existed in the middle of nowhere. I had taken for granted the fact that kosher wine was shipped to the house in three gallon plastic jugs, all the way from Israel. I had taken for granted the Rabbi and his family, who wholeheartedly and single-handedly preserved and instilled Judaism in a far corner of the earth. I quickly changed my attitude, and thanked G‑d from the bottom of my heart. This was a memory worth internalizing. I laid awake for a long while thinking about how amazing these events were. How amazing that one family could change hundreds of peoples lives, one Shabbat at a time.

May the holy souls of the Holtzberg family gain acceptance into the World to Come. Let their deeds and actions be their testimony, and may the gates of Heaven open up in the presence of their souls.

May you merit to perform many mitzvot.

Louis Allan Krieger