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Wednesday, 3 December 2008

'You are the child of all of Israel,' rabbi tells orphan at funeral for Jews killed in Mumbai


By MATTHEW KALMAN in Ramle, Israel, and CORKY SIEMASZKO in New York

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, December 2nd 2008

Little Moshe Holtzberg's parents were murdered in Mumbai, but he will not be an orphan.

While Israel's leaders and a sea of mourners looked on, a New York rabbi pledged Tuesday that the Brooklyn couple's 2-year-old son would have thousands of new parents.

"You don't have a mother who will hug you and kiss you," Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky said in an anguished eulogy. "You are the child of all of Israel."

Before Kotlarsky were the bodies of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, and his 28-year-old wife, Rivkah. He was wrapped in a prayer shawl, and she in a shroud.

The bodies were resting on chairs set outside a building that is a replica of the ultra-Orthodox Lubavitch movement's center in Crown Heights.

Rivkah's weeping father sent a fresh wave of grief spilling over the black-clad throng with the revelation that his daughter was five months pregnant when she was murdered by militants last week.

"They killed three people, not two," Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg said.

Moshe, whose Indian nanny rescued him from the Jewish center, was not at the funeral.

Israeli President Shimon Peres called on the world to unite in the fight against terrorism, using the moment to single out Iran for criticism.

"If the entire world doesn't join together as one man and say, 'Enough,' then the world is in danger," he said.


The Holtzbergs' killers are believed to be members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Kashmiri separatist group linked to Al Qaeda and based in a lawless corner of Pakistan.

When the service was done, the young couple was laid to rest in the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives near the grave of a child they lost to Tay-Sachs disease.

In Brooklyn, where the Holtzbergs lived until 2003, thousands more Lubavitchers watched the service at their main headquarters on Eastern Parkway.

Nearly 200 people were killed in the 60-hour terror rampage staged by just 10 militants in Mumbai, a megalopolis that's often referred to as the New York of India.

One of the dead was another former New Yorker, Rabbi Leibish Teitelbaum, 37, who was also buried in Jerusalem Tuesday.

Two other Americans, a Virginia dad and his 13-year-old daughter, were slaughtered in the killing spree.

Secretary of State Rice arrived in India Tuesday on a mission to cool off the Indians. The Mumbai police chief claims the killers were directed to their targets by a controller based in Pakistan. The Pakistani government denies any involvement in the Mumbai massacre.

India and Pakistan are neighbors with nukes that have fought several wars - and the U.S. doesn't want to alienate either ally.

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