The following remarks were made at a Chabad memorial in San Francisco.

My name is Valerie Porush. Some of you may know me in the room as the AIPAC San Francisco Director, but today I am speaking to you as a friend of Rivky and Rabbi Gaby.

Four years ago, I lived in Mumbai for seven months. I was an American Jewish World Services (AJWS) Fellow and worked at a non-governmental organization in the largest slum in Asia. When I was trying to prepare my remarks for tonight, I decided to dig around my computer and read emails to, from and about the Holtzbergs. I immediately became overwhelmed with emotion. I came across the form AJWS asked me to fill out about my experience in India and as an AJWS fellow. I found that a majority of my AJWS document was filled with praise for Chabad and the experience Rivky and Gaby helped foster. I'd like to read you what I wrote:

"In Mumbai, my connection to Judaism was strengthened thanks to the Holtzberg Chabad family. Gabi and Rivky were more than Chabadniks to me.

"They are my friends and always had their door open to me. They provided me with a mezuzah when I arrived in India. They sent me home with kosher food.

"They always asked about my health, my well-being, and my experiences in India. They taught me the true value of opening your home to the Jewish community worldwide. In doing so, they continuously made me, and others, feel at home in a land strange and sometimes hostile. They literally provided me with a safe haven. Weekly Shabbats at their house stabilized my time in Mumbai. During the rougher weeks, I knew I'd be rejuvenated that coming Friday with familiar and delicious food, great company, Shabbat warmth, and their care. For this, I am so grateful. They provide every Jew with asylum and comfort. They do so with strength, graciousness and open-mindedness. I am incredibly moved by their work. I am forever grateful to the Holtzbergs for their hospitality, generosity and undiscriminating friendship."

This is what I had written on the heel of my trip to India. I encourage you all to go the Chabad website and read the hundreds of postings people from around the world have written. Gaby and Rivky impacted so many people in this world. Their home was filled with magic, joy and light.

I will leave you with an image of the ruach (atmosphere and spirit) they created: It was Purim... I came early in the day so I could help Rivky stuff mishloach manot bags for the guests we were expecting later. I remember thinking how generous she was to put in Israeli bambas and other coveted treats. After all, Israeli and American snacks are treasured in India because they're so hard to come by...

Later on, the guests started arriving. And the roof deck they always entertained on was getting crowded with backpackers. The Israelis who worked at the Israeli consulate... businessmen from South Africa, Turkey and Israel... Jews from the local Jewish Indian community, and so many others.

Rivky was going around and making sure that every table had soda while Gaby made sure that everyone took a shluk from the whisky bottle. The good energy was overwhelming. The stars seemed to twinkle above and a full-fledged party began. One American traveler, Yoshi, hopped on the rooftop and played his fiddle while Rabbi Gaby and others danced—reminding us all of fiddler on the roof. Then, as the evening quieted, a guy from Mexico City, Yaakov, sang one of the sweetest songs I ever heard. A Ladino song. By the end of the night, we had all forgotten that we had arrived strangers and that we were in a strange land. This is all because of Rivky and Gabi. Although I highlight this evening, I can tell you that the Holtzbergs had many many magical nights like this particular Purim.

Thank you Rivky and Gabi for your friendship to me. Thank you for providing a home in a foreign land to so many of us travelers. Thank you for being an inspiration to me and everyone you met.

I ask that we each honor their memory by doing what we can to ensure that Mumbai Chabad is rebuilt and flourishes again.