Chabad House in Mumbai before attack
Photo: Chabad
Chabad centers in India heighten alert
Travelers, Jewish emissaries in India coming to terms with extent of Mumbai massacre, but say plans remain largely unchanged. 'It feels as though it is our brothers that have been killed. We are trying to gather strength,' Chabad emissary in Pushkar says

Less than a day after the extent of the massacre at the Chabad House in Mumbai unfolded, emissaries of Jewish centers throughout India and Israeli travelers are trying to come to terms with its ramifications.


While Chabad emissaries in the city of Pune have been asked to tighten their security measures, the travelers seem undeterred.


"I didn't think twice before coming to the Chabad House in Pushkar. The emissaries here are sacrificing everything for us," Raanana resident Roi Vilner told Ynet Sunday evening.


Vilner, who has been traveling in India for the past three months, met Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg, who were murdered during the attack on the Chabad House in Mumbai.


"I knew them well. Everything that was written about them is true – they were lovely people who accommodated us without asking for anything in return," he said. "What happened to them is inconceivable."


Asked about the Israeli travelers' sentiments in the wake of the attack, Vilner said "we (Israeli travelers) are not fearful. What happened is horrible, but we feel totally safe. We are not afraid of a similar attack taking place here as well."


Shir Maman, an emissary at the Chabad House in Pushkar for the past two months, said travelers "are sticking to their plans. There is no sense of fear."


'We were in a state of shock'

However, she stressed, the sense of loss is considerable. "It feels as though it is our brothers that have been killed. We are trying to gather strength," she said.


Maman said that the Chabad emissaries in Pushkar have no intention of leaving the country despite the massacre. "The parents at home are worried, but everyone is supporting us. There is no way we are leaving."


Many Israelis who had planned on spending the Shabbat at the Chabad House in Mumbai ended up staying at the Jewish center in Pune.


Yossi Orian (22) of Ramat Yishai told Ynet "we were in a state of shock after learning of what had happened in Mumbai, but everyone immediately called to ask how they can help. We sent relief packages to Rivkah's (Holzberg) family. There was a feeling of unity."


Orian said the Chabad House in Pune received orders from Israel to boost its security measures and raise its alert level.


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