New York Rabbi and Israeli Wife Hostage Victims Killed in Mumbai
A MEMORIAL service has been arranged tonight for Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg, 29, his wife Rivka and a couple and their teenage daughter from Virginia killed by gunmen holding up to ten hostages at the Nariman Jewish hospitality centre in Mumbai. The Rabbi's 2 year-old son, Moshe, was seen leaving the building with a woman yesterday, now known to be an employee.
A friend, Solomon Sopher writes (extract):
I have known Rabbi Holtzberg and his wife Rivka ever since they moved to Mumbai from Israel, four or five years ago. He is a very young, unassuming man, ever dedicated to helping people around him. He is non-interfering and never preaches religion, nor has he ever belittled any other religion. He is an official emmisary of the Jewish Chabad movement and his only aim has been to guide Jews Godward and inculcate spirituality -- he spends a lot of time praying.
Few know of the personal hardships he has suffered. Rabbi Holtzberg and Rivka's first-born child, a son, was born with a terminal blood condition that claimed his life. After that, their second son was also born with the same disease -- he cannot be more than 3-and-a-half years old and is currently in hospital back in Israel. They visited him only in September and when they came back they reported that all hope of his surviving is lost. I am only glad that the terrorists freed Moshe (the Holtzbergs's youngest son -- he was freed along with his nanny on Thursday).
The boy was said to be "very thristy and hungry" after his 14-hour ordeal:
Moshe and his nanny were very, very afraid. She could not even talk," Mary Benjamin told rediff.com
The little boy was held hostage by terrorists for almost 14 hours.
Moshe, 2, is the son of Israeli Rabbi Gavriel Holtsberg and his wife Rivka, who are still held hostage in Nariman House in south Mumbai, almost 44 hours after terrorists descended on the place and turned it into a war zone.
It is not known how Moshe and his nanny got out of Nariman House, but both of them arrived at the home of Rabbi Sharon Garsulkar of Mumbai's David Sassoon synagogue, at 11 am on Thursday. Gavriel and Sharon are close friends.
- Also Watch: 'Moshe was very hungry and thirsty'
"I got a message from a relative that the boy and his nanny would come to my house," continued Mary Benjamin, Rabbi Garsulkar's mother. "Moshe was very thirsty and scared (when he came). We gave him water. He was also very hungry from the night before. I gave him some cheese that I had got from Israel 10 days ago. His parents don't give him any outside food (but only food from Israel)."
Moshe stayed in the Benjamin's home for about 20 minutes before he and his nanny were sent to the Colaba police station to give a statement. From there, they were taken to the Israeli consulate in Nariman Point. The boy's grandparents -- Rivki's parents -- have flown down to Mumbai from Israel to take charge of the little boy.
A New York rabbi and his wife and a father and his teenage daughter from a Virginia meditation community were among those killed in the terrorist attacks in India, colleagues said on Friday.
Chabad-Lubavitch movement spokesman Rabbi Zalman Schmotkin, says Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka, were killed in Mumbai. They ran the movement's local headquarters, one of 10 sites attacked.
Their toddler son, Moshe Holtzberg, was smuggled out of the center by an employee, and is with his grandparents.
Separately, Alan Scherr, 58, and daughter Naomi, 13, were in a cafe on Wednesday night in Mumbai when they were killed, said Bobbie Garvey, a spokeswoman for the Synchronicity Foundation meditation group.
The US State Department confirmed their deaths.