Archive for Sunday, November 30, 2008

Friends of rabbi killed in India

KU Jewish Center director mourns for attack victims

November 30, 2008


For Lawrence Rabbi Zalman Tiechtel, the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, have brought both a loss of a close friend and a blow to the Jewish Chabad movement.

Among those killed in the terrorist assaults were Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, and his wife, Rivkah, 28, who built and ran a Chabad House in Mumbai.

Tiechtel, director of the Chabad Jewish Center at Kansas University, grew up just a few houses away from Gavriel Holtzberg in Brooklyn in New York.

They were classmates for nine years, attending primary and rabbinical school together.

“He meant so much to me personally,” Tiechtel said.

And the terrorist attack was targeted at a Chabad House, which shares the same mission as the one here in Lawrence and is part of a worldwide organization that acts as a harbor of both Jewish and humanitarian resources.

It was the first time that a Chabad House, which number more than 3,500, has experienced such a level of violence, Tiechtel said.

“It was an edifice that was dedicated to warmth and joy and love for everyone that needed it,” Tiechtel said. “The fact that they targeted such a location makes it an even greater tragedy.”

According to the Associated Press, terrorists attacked the Mumbai Chabad House, which media reports often referred to as the Nariman House, late Wednesday night. On Friday morning, elite Indian commandoes stormed the building. Once inside, they found six hostages dead, including Holtzberg and his wife.

The two were among the 174 people reported killed during the terrorist attacks. The Jewish center was one of 10 sites targeted. The couple’s 2-year-old son Moshe escaped with a maid, the Associated Press reported.

On Wednesday afternoon, Tiechtel learned of the hostage situation in India. Since then, he hasn’t slept and has been glued to the TV and Internet waiting for news on his friend.

Tiechtel said the Holtzberg family was an inspiration as they moved from Brooklyn to a vastly different culture in Mumbai.

“He always had a smile, regardless of the hardship,” Tiechtel said. “And the wife was a very wise woman, really a leader in her own way.”

The Chabad House was the center of the Jewish community in Mumbai. It provided a home away from home for Jewish tourists and businessmen. It also provided drug rehabilitation services for the community, Tiechtel said.

Tiechtel hopes the world will “fight darkness with light,” either by lighting candles or doing good deeds.

“This terrible tragedy is something any individual can take to heart and make the world a better place in response to,” Tiechtel said.


Sharon Aikins 9 years, 1 month ago

My condolences to Rabbi Tiechtel in the loss of his friends. The actions of those few prove what to the world? If only energies spent like this could be used to do something positive for mankind.

JKBagby 9 years, 1 month ago

My thoughts go out for all those injured or killed in Mumbai. Let's look into the intelligence that it took to orchestrate this and the Airport shutdown in thailand. Financing and a great amount of influence had to be in place before an event like this can be carried out. Most groups in this region do not have that kind of weight to throw around, Nor the organizational resources. But there are groups that can organize and execute this kind of attack from continents away. This is not a Muslim agenda, this is a control agenda.

Confrontation 9 years, 1 month ago

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Danielle Brunin 9 years, 1 month ago

Well Marion, I'm a Muslim so say what you have to say. I have met Rabbi Tiechtel and he is a wonderful and wise man. His loss is everyone's loss. If it weren't so tragic, it would almost be funny that you think all Muslims, even local and/or American, are so devious that they are just sitting around eating turkey and pumpkin pie, gleefully cheering on the violence in Mumbai. Do you really think people who are so evil as to commit atrocities such as this are just hanging around Lawrence? If not, then why would you suggest calling the "nearest" Muslim to thank them? Peace-loving people the world over grieve with Rabbi Tiechtel, as do I.

gdsacco 9 years, 1 month ago

"Asked specifically if he was talking of torture marks, he said: "It was apparent that most of the dead were tortured. What shocked me were the telltale signs showing clearly how the hostages were executed in cold blood," one doctor said."The other doctor, who had also conducted the post-mortem of the victims, said: "Of all the bodies, the Israeli victims bore the maximum torture marks. It was clear that they were killed on the 26th itself. It was obvious that they were tied up and tortured before they were killed. It was so bad that I do not want to go over the details even in my head again," he said."'s get Obama and Clinton right to work on this.

gdsacco 9 years, 1 month ago

"My thoughts go out for all those injured or killed in Mumbai. Let's look into the intelligence that it took to orchestrate this..."How about we look into the ideology that continues to motivate it?

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