MOSCOW (JTA) — Chabad emissaries across the former Soviet Union memorialized the victims of last week’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
Many among the tight-knit group serving in synagogues and community centers across the former Soviet Union — the largest Chabad network outside Israel and Brooklyn — knew Rabbi Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg. The Holtzbergs were killed in an attack on their Chabad House.
In Moscow, more than 100 people attended a prayer service Tuesday afternoon in the city’s large community center. Russia’s head Chabad rabbi, Berel Lazar, was in Israel to attend the memorial service for the young couple as a representative of Russian Jewry.
"In moments like this, when Jews are killed once again only because they are Jews, we must be united," Lazar said in a letter to the Russian Jewish community. "We know that unity is our people’s pledge of salvation."
Rabbi Ari Edelkopf, a Chabad emissary in Sochi, Russia, said his heart was heavy as he watched the attacks unfold. He could not leave his duties in southern Russia, but said he planned to watch Tuesday’s funeral via Web cast.
The head Chabad rabbi of St. Petersburg, Menachem Mendel Pezner, called on the city’s Jews to remember the family, whom he knew personally.
Rivkah Holtzberg was the cousin of an Israeli working in the Chabad community of Odessa, Ukraine. The city’s chief rabbi had worked with Gavriel Holtzberg several times over the course of his studies and time as a Chabad emissary.
Rabbi Avraham Wolf of Odessa called on members of his community to strengthen their solidarity in the face of terrorist attacks.
"I hope that in the future we will receive only good news, awarding us complete deliverance and the arrival of the Messiah in a rebuilt Israel," he said, according to Jewish.ru.