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New York – Pledges of money and mitzvot (good deeds) have poured into a Web site set up by the New York-based Chabad-Lubavitch movement in the wake of the massacre in Mumbai, India, that claimed six victims at Mumbai’s Chabad House.
Chabad, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish outreach program that aims to bring Jews closer to their faith, runs community centers in more than 70 countries, with three in other Indian cities. The Mumbai center, directed by Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, provided religious instruction, kosher food and hospitality for the region’s estimated 5,000 Jewish residents and countless tourists and business travelers.
The Holtzbergs were among more than 170 people killed in last week’s terrorist attacks. The couple had moved to Mumbai after their wedding five years ago to open a Chabad House. Several other young couples have already offered to help rebuild the center, with funds donated to the new Chabad of Mumbai Relief Fund, officials said.
The fund will also help support the Holtzberg children — Moshe, the toddler rescued by his nanny during last week’s siege and taken to Israel to live with his grandparents, and another child born with Tay-Sachs Disease, a genetic condition, who is hospitalized in Israel.
Chabad officials have asked Jews around the world to commemorate the Holtzbergs by performing good deeds. In addition to acts of charity, women can pledge to light Sabbath candles, men can put on tefillin (phylacteries) containing biblical verses, and any Jew can pray and make sure the mezuzah — biblical parchment affixed to the doorpost of a Jewish home — is properly maintained.
“Through doing good things, the victims live on and the work that the Holtzbergs were doing continues,” said Rabbi Motti Seligson, a Chabad spokesperson.
Within two days, more than 1,000 mitzvot had been pledged on the Web site, Chabad has not yet tallied the monetary contributions received as of Monday (Dec. 1) afternoon, which have come from around the world, he added.
“Chabad is going to rebuild in Mumbai,” Seligson said. “Right now, we’re just focusing on the child and on the funerals, but we are definitely going to rebuild in Mumbai.”
Memorial services for the couple and the other victims have also been held in Mumbai and at Jewish centers around the world.
By Nicole Neroulias
Religion News Service
Copyright 2008 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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