Tragically, the reports yesterday that Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka, had been killed after the Chabad house in Mumbai was taken over by terrorists were true. Officials with the Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters in Brooklyn have confirmed their deaths:
Jewish communities around the world reacted with shock to the loss of the couple, who were killed Thursday at their Chabad House during an apparent standoff between Indian military forces and terrorists.
Their toddler son, Moshe, managed to escape with his nanny some hours before Indian commandos stormed their building, known as the Nariman House, in the popular touristy neighborhood of Colaba. The Associated Press reported that the boy was unharmed, but was wearing blood-soaked pants.
“Gabi and Rivky Holtzberg made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch. “As emissaries to Mumbai, Gabi and Rivky gave up the comforts of the West in order to spread Jewish pride in a corner of the world that was a frequent stop for throngs of Israeli tourists. Their Chabad House was popular among the local community, as well as with visiting businesspeople.
“For five years, they ran a synagogue and Torah classes, and helped people dealing with drug addiction and poverty,” continued the statement. “Their selfless love will live on with all the people they touched. We will continue the work they started.”
Read more of Chabad’s story about the Holtzbergs here. The India Times also has a report of what happened at the Chabad house, also known as the Nariman House. It looks like three other hostages and all of the terrorists at Nariman were killed. The terrorist attacks, which began Wednesday, have claimed at least 143 lives.