"Therefore, I M. Jodi Rell, Governor of the State of Connecticut, in remembrance of Rabbi and Mrs. Holtzberg and the other victims on the attack, do hereby officially proclaim November 18, 2009, as Day of Goodness in the State of Connecticut." With these words, Governor Rell joined Chabad throughout Connecticut in encouraging all state residents to add good deeds in Memory of Rabbi and Mrs. Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg, Directors of the Chabad House in Mumbai, India.
When a band of terrorists attacked the city of Mumbai, India, a year ago, they inflicted death upon hundreds and carnage upon thousands more. All peace loving residents of the sprawling metropolis were targeted for mayhem.
But the killers went out of their way to target a specific group of people. Several terrorists headed straight for the Jewish "Chabad House" in the center of the city. The home served as a magnet for the local Jewish community, as well as for thousands of business travelers, tourists, students, and backpackers that pass through Mumbai each year.
Directed by Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivkah, the Chabad House provided food, shelter, comfort, and counseling to all who came knocking. As Abraham's Tent in the days of old, the centers doors were open wide.
"Rabbi and Mrs. Holtzberg represented the best of humanity," said Rabbi Yosef Wolvovsky, Executive Director of the Chabad Jewish Center in Glastonbury. "It is precisely for this reason that they were targeted for murder."
A year later, on the first anniversary of the terror attacks, the Jewish community of Connecticut will gather for a solemn memorial. On the day of the first Yahrtzeit -- anniversary of the passing -- of the Holtzbergs, local residents will come together to pay tribute to this special young couple. "We must remember the good that Gabi and Rivkah stand for," says Wolvovsky. "And we must continue their noble work, wherever we may be."
The event, to be held at the Chabad Jewish Center in Glastonbury, will take place on Wednesday, November 18 at 7:30pm. The evening will include a dessert reception, the unveiling of a special memorial plaque in honor of the Holtzbergs, a special video presentation, and words of reflection and motivation.
Rabbi Yisrael Deren, Regional Director of Chabad in Connecticut, will speak of the legacy of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg. "Despite the horrible tragedy of their death," said Deren, "we must draw inspiration from their tireless dedication and devotion to others."
State Comptroller Nancy Wyman will unveil a special memorial plaque honoring the Holtzbergs. The inscription will act as a reminder of the great devotion of Gabi and Rivkah to humanity and community. A special video presentation about the lives of the Holtzbergs will be screened, and Meir Holtzberg of New Haven, Gabi's first cousin, will recall childhood memories.
There is no charge for this event. Donations in memory of the Holtzbergs, however, are encouraged.
The Chabad Jewish Center is located at 25 Harris Street in Glastonbury. For more information, please call (860) 659-2422, email Rabbi@ChabadER.com