I never knew where Mumbai was.
India was so far away. So distant.
I never knew.

That all changed.
Three months ago, when I started working.
Planning a trip with all its details.
For a Rabbi to go to India.
To perform kashrut inspections.

We worked on this trip.
All of the details.
Together with Rabbi Holtzberg.
Who would be accompanying.

Rabbi Holtzberg, when I spoke to you on Tuesday,
You were so accommodating.
"I would never want to be a stranded Jew in India"
Those were your words.
And you insisted we change the schedule,
So the Rabbi could stay by you, one more night.
So you can help him out even more.

Rabbi Holtzberg, when I spoke with you on Tuesday,
I had assumed you were much older.
You spoke with such a depth, such love.

On Wednesday, we had finalized the details.
I just was working with the companies,
Waiting for confirmations regarding transport.

On Wednesday night, my husband delicately mentions,
"Were you arranging a trip to India?
I don't think that is a very good idea,
There are terrorist attacks."
But more details he didn't give.
And I just couldn't ask.

Thursday morning, in my inbox.
An email from a company.
They can not get through to you.
They are worried you might be involved.
I had to inform all of them,
Yes, this is our Rabbi.

That's when it started to hit home.
I followed the news all day.
Hoping, praying, begging.
In a daze, terrified but hoping for the best.

Saying Psalms.
Asking women to bake challah.
Please, bake challah with a blessing.
Perhaps this will bring a miracle.

Thursday night,
My friends get together,
We are saying Psalms,
All of us, together, out loud.

On Friday, things aren't getting better.
Conflicting reports all day long.
I glance up at my computer screen.
A note, I hadn't noticed it before.

A smaller note next to it reminds me
Call Holtzberg.

My blood freezes. It feels like ages ago
These are just from Tuesday.
Tuesday, when I spoke to you.

I am begging G‑d,
"Bring them back to us.
Alive and well!"

The tears are streaming down my face,
My wrenching sobs shaking me,
To my very core.

I grab my Psalms and storm the heavens.
Crying, praying and hoping.

I refuse to accept any reports.
I simply can't.
A young emissary in his prime.
Whom I had just spoken with,
The day before these horrible events.

No, it can't be.
G‑d, it's enough!

Rabbi Holtzberg always made sure
No one would be stranded,
G‑d, Oy G‑d,
Don't let your children remain stranded!
Bring the Redemption now!

Pesha Leah was just twenty-three years old when she was unfortunately killed on January 7, 2010, in a car accident. An author of a few poems on TheJewishWoman.org, she also worked for OK Kosher. She will be sorely missed.