Sunday, December 7, 2008

Weekly E*Torah

by Rabbi Avrohom Altein

Memorial to the Victims of Mumbai

Last week, the entire world watched a horrifying disaster unfold in Mumbai that chilled every civilized person. Close to 200 innocent men women and children were murdered in cold blood. Jews of every persuasion were heart-broken when the hostages at the Chabad Centre in Mumbai were found killed.

The young Chabad emissaries, Rabbi Gabi Holtzberg and his wife Rivkah, were exceptionally kind and generous people who opened their home to thousands of Jews, both the affiliated and the non-affiliated. Countless Israeli backpackers saw in Chabad of Mumbai, a spiritual and physical oasis of life and learning. Gabi and Rivkie's little son Moshe just turned two. He was miraculously rescued by his Nanny. It was heart wrenching to see and hear Moshe crying for his mother Rivkah, not able to comprehend that never again will he see his parents.

Together with the Asper JCC and the Rady Centre, Chabad-Lubavitch of Winnipeg is scheduling a memorial to those that perished in Mumbai. The Lubavitch Rebbe always inspired us not to lose hope in the face of tragedy, but to grow even stronger in our commitment to all that is good and kind. On the first night of Chanukah, Sunday December 21, the Jewish Community will gather at the Asper Campus at 4:00 p.m. for a Chanukah Menorah Lighting Ceremony. Afterwards, we will join together in the Bernie Theatre for the Mumbai Memorial.

In the ancient times of Chanukah, Jews faced spiritual darkness and gloom of spiritual intolerance and death. Yet the Jewish Nation did not lose hope; they regained religious freedom and rekindled the Menorah as a symbol of the light of Mitzvot. Today we too will not lose hope in the face of terrorists and murderers. We will rekindle the lights of Mitzvot at the Mumbai Memorial on Chanukah.

In a demonstration of pride in increasing the power of light and goodness, the Mumbai Memorial will be followed by a Chanukah Menorah Parade, leading from the Asper JCC to the site of the upcoming new Chabad Torah Centre, west of Centennial between Mathers and Grant Avenues. At the conclusion of the parade we will celebrate at the new Chabad site with the annual Chanukah Fireworks.

We urge everyone to do a Mitzvah as a personal memorial to the victims of Mumbai. Light Shabbat candles, don Tefillin or donate charity. One can specifically donate to help rebuild Chabad of Mumbai or towards the welfare of Moshe, the toddler orphan of Gabi & Rivkie, by clicking here. Please join us as well for our annual Chanukah Celebration at the Family Latke Night, Tuesday December 23, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., in the North-End Lubavitch Centre, 2095 Sinclair Street. Phone for reservations at 339-8737 or email to reservation@chabadwinnipeg.org

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