Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mumbai--Still There

Mumbai may have passed into memory for most people--just another awful thread in the tapestry of bad things happening to Jewish people. But it isn't just another bad memory for some people. And me, personally, I applaud the resolve it took for the people involved in the article below to do what they did. You can knock us down but we are going to get up again--that you can count on.

By Rina Chandran Reuters Thursday, December 25, 2008; 12:00 PM
MUMBAI (Reuters) - The parents of a rabbi and his wife slain in last month's Mumbai attack lit a menorah outside a badly damaged Jewish center on Thursday, vowing the centre's work would continue.
Rabbi Nachman Holtzberg of New York, father of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, gathered with other community leaders outside the Chabad-Lubavitch center at Nariman House as part of Hanukah celebrations.
The center was one of 10 sites attacked by Islamist militants in India's financial center on November 26-29. The attacks, blamed by India and the United States on Pakistan-based militants, killed at least 179 people.
Watched by dozens of police and onlookers gathered in the busy street, Nachman Holtzberg recited blessings before a group of rabbis led the delegation in prayer. The parents of Gavriel Holtzberg's wife Rivka were also present.
"This home was open to everyone," said Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch. "Its activities will continue."
Parts of the six-storey Nariman House, which was nearly destroyed in a siege after gunmen stormed in, have been knocked down by city authorities and a team is assessing damage to the rest of the building, Kotlarsky said.
"Just a few weeks ago, this city suffered a great atrocity, and tonight we mourn the loss of the young rabbi and his wife who moved to Mumbai to be emissaries," Kotlarsky said.
"We also celebrate the victory of right over wrong, and we are committed to continuing the legacy of Gavriel and Rivka. We won't take even one baby step back. We are not leaving Mumbai."
The rabbi's 2-year-old son Moshe, who was saved by his nanny and is now with his grandparents in Israel, will return to Mumbai, Kotlarsky said.
Gavriel Holtzberg came to Mumbai in 2003 to run a synagogue and Torah classes as part of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, an Orthodox Jewish group which has about 4,000 emissaries at more than 3,000 sites around the world.
Fewer than 5,000 Jews remain among India's 1.1 billion people, but the faith has a long history in the country, with the first established community thought to have been formed in the southern state of Kerala in 70 AD.
(Editing by Andrew Roche)


Anonymous said...

So maybe Lubavitch should move back to East New York and Brownsville too, with that logic ?

While the sentiment may seem admirable, sometimes we have to move on. Some places on the globe, if they don't treat the chosen people well, perhaps they don't deserve to have them in their midst !

Do you, Prof. K, want to move back to the accursed place where your grandparents lived and had to flee from? Using the Lubavitcher logic perhaps you should do so. For some reason, I doubt you are contemplating that though.

ProfK said...

It's a question of choice. If Lubavitch chooses to go to the places that it goes and then refuses to back down when times are rough, that is a choice they are making, freely chosen by them and not dictated by others. If they should choose to leave Mumbai at some time in the future then that will be their choice as well.

Re going back to Europe to where I was born, that choice was not available to my parents, even when they came back from the camps. They'd no longer settled back into their home towns when the Russians came barreling in to "enslave" them yet again. Their only choice was to leave if they wanted to stay alive and free. And that has pretty much remained the same in all the decades since the war.

Anonymous said...

If Jews just decided to leave any country where they have been attacked we would already be colonizing outer space and probably already have to move to another galaxy. Just where in this world is there a place that a Jew has never been attacked? When and where possible you sometimes have to take a stand and say enough, I'm not leaving.

Anonymous said...

Jake, there is a big difference between places that are generally hospitable and conducive to Jewish living, even if some incidents occur at times, and places that are not so. Third world countries in parts of the world where significant hostile populations exist may not be the best place to make such a public stand.