Every Jew knows that all things in this world are divinely ordained. We can plan and plan, and plan a little more, but at the end of the day, we know that everything is in the hands of G‑d. And that's the story of how I have ended up in Mumbai for six weeks, assisting the Jewish community and Jewish visitors from abroad.

A week and a half before Passover I flew home to Palm Springs, CA, with the intention of observing the Seder with my family. Little did I know that instead I'd be spending Passover in Mumbai, India. This all came about when my older brother, Arik, was phoned by the central Chabad offices requesting he conduct the Seder in Mumbai. Arik had spent some time with the Holtzbergs about a year and a half ago and was somewhat familiar with the layout here so they thought it'd be a good idea to send him.

Three days later I was back in New York. Three days after that, MumbaiHaving made a prior commitment to arrange a Seder in Itacare, Brazil, he referred them to me. Three days later I was back in New York. Three days after that, Mumbai. But before I left for Mumbai, I had loads of work to do in New York, including obtaining a visa, shopping for Passover provisions, and several meetings with some Chabad bigwigs.

I arrived in Mumbai on Wednesday night (my three comrades were arriving the following Monday night) and started working right away. Five o'clock in the morning, every day, I was up and tackling the work, 16-18 hours each day. With the others not arriving until Monday, there was no splitting up work. Unchecked craziness.

First I must hire a cook for Shabbat and Passover, then go and collect frozen kosher chickens from around town. Then I send shipments of chicken and a Torah to the Chabad Houses of Manali, Bangalore and Goa. Then there's a shipment to be picked up from Israel and cleared in Indian customs. An 8 hour ordeal. The bureaucracy here leaves much to be desired. G‑d bless America!

Next, security must be arranged for the Seders. A few visits to the bombed Chabad House, known as Nariman House. Hundreds of phone calls to be made and emails to be sent. Shabbat with 15 guests. A Torah class with the local Bene Israel Indian Jews… and the list goes on. And all this in the heat and humidity. Gevald! India is a sauna.

Unfortunately, most people here live in abject poverty. But no matter, it is still a very interesting country with a rich culture, and anyways the focus right now is putting together the Seder. It's harrowing, but make no mistake! It is a wonderful privilege to be chosen for this holy work and the experience is highly rewarding.

On the eve of Passover we joined the local community for a Blessing of the Sun gathering and afterwards we held our own Blessing of the Sun gathering at the former Chabad House (Nariman House). It was an extremely emotional experience. We prayed and cried there, and we sang and danced. That night, my colleagues, Shneur, Sholly, Levy and I conducted the Passover Seder. It was beautiful. Everybody was bonding and the vibe was very "homey."

Aside from the Seder being wonderful, the overwhelming feedback was joy that Chabad is still functioning despite everything that has happened. What I can say is this: if the atrocities of December 26th knocked the wind out of this community, I think that the idea of the Seder and more importantly the actual Seder itself helped somewhat to restore the beauty of what once was.

I feel that the Seder helped restore some of that feeling of assuranceWhat we all want is to have the assurance that our basic and central foundations will remain intact. We want that feeling of security, to know that we will be taken care of. For most people it means to have schools and hospitals. For a Jew it means that even in the middle of "Yehupitz" you have a home. To have kosher food and a place to pray. Thousands of Jews from all parts of this planet who would come here for business or as tourists, would come to Chabad for these exact reasons.

When the terrorists struck at those foundations it rocked the very core of our community, making us feel vulnerable to some degree. Naturally this takes a serious toll on our general morale and it is especially so for those who benefited directly from Chabad in Mumbai.

The Holtzbergs were a beacon of light and warmth in a dark world, but on a more practical level, they were literally a home to Jews from all over. In a city foreign to most of us, they provided a comfortable place to eat and hang out. And then suddenly, nothing. It could really freak you out. People relied on them. I feel that the Seder helped restore some of that feeling of assurance.

One local Indian Jewish doctor and his family ate with us. He was close with the Holtzbergs, and he told us that he felt orphaned since the attack. But to see Chabad continue like before, it gives him back his soul a little. To fill the shoes of Gabi and Rivki is a daunting task with overtones of great personal self sacrifice, quite possibly out of my league, but what I'll say is this: I know that my buddies and I are doing our small part to contribute to the holy work of Gabi and Rivki. All in an effort to keep their memory and everything they stood for alive and strong, namely their devotion to Torah and mitzvahs and especially the great mitzvah of love of one's fellow Jew. Gabi and Rivki may not be with us in the physical sense, but the memory of their lives, filled with unending dedication to G‑d and self-sacrifice for another Jew, continues to inspire us daily to push for these same goals.

Originally published in the Palm Springs Jewish News.