Monterey rabbi's cousin killed in Mumbai

November 29, 2008 1:19:32 PM PST
A New York rabbi and his Israeli wife were among five victims found dead at a Jewish center in Mumbai. Their two-year old son was saved by a nanny who grabbed the boy and ran from the gunmen.

The Holtzbergs had friends and loved ones here in Northern California, including a cousin in Monterey. People in the Bay Area are reaching out to survivors of these attacks.

Candles are lit for the Jewish Sabbath, but at the Shalom School in San Francisco, they're also lit in memory of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka. Commandoes found their bodies inside Chabad Lubavitch in Mumbai.

"I got the news from a family source that you know, he's no longer with us," said Rabbi Dovid Holtzberg, the victim's cousin.

The terrorists murdered Rabbi Dovid Holtzberg's cousin.

"Even animals don't act this way, by doing it, they happened to target my cousin," said Holtzberg.

The rabbi and his wife moved to Mumbai in 2003, the same year his cousin came to Monterey to lead the Jewish Orthodox Center, there. No one in the family considered India's financial center, a dangerous place.

Neither did anyone at the Balaji Hindu temple in Sunnyvale, where now sadness fills the room. Religious leaders hope to replace it with peace and comfort. It's a special prayer service, held in honor of those touched by the attacks, including Chandra Shekar's family friend who was a staffer at the Taj Hotel.

"She escaped unhurt but she's been in a room for the last three days. She was part of the group that was helping the guests and staff of the hotel," said Chandra Shekar, from Sunnyvale.

While police are considered the obvious heroes during the past week, it's clear Friday night, there are several others. Shekar says hotel staffers sacrificed their own safety at times and tried to keep guests out of harm's way. And because of a woman named Sandra, Rabbi Holtzberg's son survived the ordeal his parents did not.


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