VIDEO - Masses arrived at Kfar Chabad on Tuesday to attend a memorial ceremony for Rivka and Gavriel Holtzberg, the Chabad emissaries who were murdered, alongside four other Jews, in the terror attack on Chabad House
in Mumbai, India last week.
Psalms were recited at the beginning of the ceremony, which was attended by President Shimon Peres, government ministers, Knesset members, Chabad emissaries from around the world and official Indian representatives,
The funeral procession is scheduled to depart later for the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem, where the couple will be laid to rest.
Rivka's parents intend to take over the running of Mumbai's Chabad House, until another emissary is chosen, a Chabad representative said Tuesday. He added that the parents wished to reestablish the Jewish center in the city.
Shimon Rosenberg, Rivka's father, revealed to the gathered mourners that his daughter had been five months pregnant at the time of her death.
President Shimon Peres said during the ceremony: "For several days now, the entire world, and certainly the Jewish world, owes an answer to the question of one two-year-old child called Moishi. We must explain to him why his mother was murdered. Anyone who has a child must ask this question. Those who have no pity for children will not pity mothers or fathers."
President Peres at service (Photo: Yaron Brener)
He went on to say, "Moishi bears not only a question, but also solace. He will grow up and carry on with this great and important mission… an entire nation weeps today…the entire Jewish people is a one, big family whose pain knows no boundaries, but nor does its hope."
The president also stated that terror must be uprooted, as it represented a threat to the world.
Kfar Chabad's rabbi, Mordechai-Shmuel Ashkenazi was the first speaker at the service. "God promises us that mitzvah emissaries will not be harmed. They were slaughtered with a Torah book and phylacteries in their hands.
"Why? Why? Jews who dedicated their life to God, to bringing more unity to the people of Israel and to spreading the word of the Torah in remote places."
Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch, said that the Chabad House in Mumbai will be rebuilt and named after Rivka and Gavriel. "Moishi, this will be your home to return to; from there you will draw strength," he told the emissaries' two-year-old son Moshe-Zvi.
Chabad members mourn Holtzbergs (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Kotlarsky added, "What can I say Moishi? You don’t have a mother and a father to hold you in their arms. No parents to hug and kiss you. You will be the child of the entire nation of Israel. You are an emissary, and an emissary you shall remain."
Kotlarsky also sent a message to Chabad's entire emissaries abroad: "Now is the time to be strong; this is not a time to think or ask questions but for action. The answer to terror will not be given with tanks and grenades. Such cruelty can only be fought against by spreading light."
Israel's two chief rabbis, Shlomo Amar and Yona Metzger both spoke at the service. Rabbi Metzger broke into tears during his eulogy, when he said: "No one can break us. We should all stay strong and carry on with their mission to bring hearts and people closer.
"I implore the ministers of the government present here, on behalf of Israel's Chief Rabbinate – make sure that every Chabad House is secured, that these embassies of the Jewish people in every city in the world are guarded. So many Israelis enjoy these centers."