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Friday, December 05, 2008

Memories and lessons from Mumbai

I was finally able to get my thoughts about Mumbai down on 'paper' this week.  The result was about twice the length of even my longest posts, and made me sound much closer to the Holtzbergs (HY"D) than I really was. 

Obviously their deaths affected me very deeply, but what I wrote felt like I was 'crying louder than the family at the funeral', (if you know what I mean).  I had to do a complete rewrite to try to express my sadness at their deaths without sounding insincere or (worse) like I was using this tragedy to promote myself.

Sadly, surrounding every high profile death there are always people trying for their 15 minutes of fame by clamoring to make sure everyone knew how close they were with the deceased.  I didn't want to be one of those people.

Anyway... hopefully the result will give you an honest glimpse of two special souls... as well as a couple of lessons I learned from their example.

My friend Lisa over at the Orthodox Union graciously asked me if I would allow her to post it in their 'Shabbat Shalom' section so it could have a wider distribution... so you can read it over at the OU site.

Posted by David Bogner on December 5, 2008 | Permalink


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I have just read your piece of writing. I could identify with the need to be with other Jews when in a foreign environment as it is something I have experienced both in Sweden and Hong Kong.
You have chosen your words carefully and I like your conclusion; may we all be able to emulate the Holtzbergs (HY"D) in our capacity to welcome other Jews whoever they are.

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Dec 5, 2008 9:03:02 AM

your memories will give this incredible couple a long life. your answers will come from your actions. i know , i have been there.
be well and continue doing the amazing things you do. shabat shalom. noa

Posted by: Noa | Dec 5, 2008 10:00:03 AM

Nicely worded. the biggest tribute we can pay to the victims is to carry on theior mission.


Posted by: ak | Dec 5, 2008 11:07:53 AM

The article was beautifully written and the focus was clearly on the Rabbi and his wife - as it should be. I hope you are continuing to recover from your illness. Shabbat Shalom.

Posted by: Maya | Dec 5, 2008 12:54:51 PM

thank you, for your words themselves as well your willingness to share them.
shabbat shalom.

Posted by: Debbie | Dec 5, 2008 2:26:12 PM

Beautiful article. Shabbat Shalom.

Posted by: SaraK | Dec 5, 2008 4:20:41 PM

Your writing about these warm and special souls will most definitely help that their memories be a blessing.

Thank you.

Posted by: orieyenta | Dec 5, 2008 4:22:44 PM


Thank you for sharing your memories of the Holtzberg's. You continue their divine task of bringing Yidishkeit by your rememberence and your resolve to carry their legacy on.

Because they were such magnificent people and great tzadikim Ha'Shem wanted them by his side. Their light shall forever shine.

Shabbat Shalom.

Posted by: Allan | Dec 5, 2008 6:27:35 PM

Any tribute is unworthy of such loving people, but I have to believe your tender words have come as close as any can. This comment certainly adds nothing to the depth of your words, but perhaps I (as a goy) can point out their breadth. I bear witness to the truth of Genesis 22:18. "In {Abraham's} seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." (Don't be too flattered -- my admiration praises the Potter, not the pot.)

Posted by: Bob | Dec 5, 2008 9:54:05 PM

Well said.

Posted by: Jack | Dec 6, 2008 12:21:02 AM

That was beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: Chantal | Dec 6, 2008 12:45:26 AM

Thank you so much for your word of the Chabad House hosts. I'm not Jewish, but being a Christian, I absolutely adore the people of Israel and pray for their blessing. My heart was ripped raw when I heard about Mumbai. I now know the victims a little more personally. I pray HaShem took away their pain while being beaten. After hearing about the Chabad hosts, how I wish I could have taken their place. It's such a struggle to wonder why I am granted life by HaShem, when others more deserving are taken from us. Thank you David.

Posted by: David | Dec 6, 2008 4:55:58 PM

You mentioned a few ways that you have chosen to rmember the Holtzbergs.
I wonder whether you would ADD an extra way - joining our women's evening in Givat Zeev and sharing memories of Rivky so that we can be inspired and inspire others.
the group is a new project to promote unity between all women in the Giva, of whatever denomination(I aspire to be a Lubavitche and have no patience for labels).
G-d bless
Chana Boas

Posted by: chana boas | Dec 11, 2008 8:23:43 PM

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