Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"The Jewish Community in Mumbai"

Wednesday, the First of Kislev, marks the first Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Gabi and Rivka Holtzberg hy”d. Gabi and Rivki served as the Rebbe’s emissaries to Mumbai, India, until their horrific murder along with four other Jews – guests in their welcoming Chabad House on the night it was targeted by terrorist.

The Avner Institute would like to present a letter composed by the Rebbe and sent to a Rabbi in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, England. The Rebbe expresses great interest and concern in the Jewish Community of Mumbai.

We have also included a unique collection of pictures of the Rebbe, courtesy of the Rebbe Archive; special thanks to Yechi Ezagui.

This email is dedicated in honor of the murdered emissaries and their guests; and in honor of the upcoming third birthday and opshernish of their surviving son, Moshe Holtzberg – may he enjoy many years filled with much revealed blessing, generating nachas for his family and for klal yisrael.

Good Shabbos,

Letchworth, Herts, England.

Greetings and Blessings:

It has been brought to my attention that the Jewish community in Bombay is facing a serious crisis. According to my information, which apparently comes from a reliable source, there are at present about 450 Baghdadi Jews there, whereas the Bnei Israel community numbers about a couple of thousand, spread over the whole of India.

Of the three existing Jewish schools, two are expected to close in May 1970, partly for lack of funds, and partly because the number of students has fallen. The largest Jewish school is the Jacob Sassoon School, where about 300 children, including some Bnei Israel, receive more or less free education and free meals; however, because of lack of funds, free meals might soon be stopped, while snacks will be given only to the poorer children.

I am further informed that poor orphans and widows, and the aged, face increased hardships because of cuts in their monthly allowances etc, A case in point in the recently widowed wife of the Chazan of the Magen David Synagogue, left with eight children and so placed that, unfortunately, she is no longer able to maintain the middle-class family life that they have been accustomed to.

Knowing of your keen personal interest in the Jewish community of India, especially Bombay, and of how much your ancestors have done to provide vital education and social services for our brethren there, I am confident that you will look into the present situation, and do all that you can, in the great tradition of your family.

Hoping this letter finds you in the best of health.

With blessing

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