By Sharon Roffe-Ofir, ynetnews.com
Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg and his wife Yehudit of Afula are praying for the wellbeing of their daughter Rivka, who has been taken hostage by terrorists in the Indian city of Mumbai, along with her husband, Chabad emissary Gavriel Holtzberg.
According to several reports, both Holtzberg and his wife are unconscious. Their two-year-old son was reportedly released earlier Thursday along with his nanny.
Rivka’s parents plan to fly to India later Thursday, “first of all in order to take the little boy, Moshe Zvi. We hope to receive good news and to meet Rivki and her husband,” Rabbi Rosenberg said.
Rivka’s mother told Ynet of her feelings. “I’m in the midst of prayers and expecting salvation now. These are difficult moments for a mother. The last time I spoke to her was the day before yesterday. I wasn’t worried. There were no signs. What happened could have happened anywhere.
“I believe the building was secured. I want to travel to India to be close to my grandson, to my children. We are in constant touch with Gabby’s parents, who live in the US.”
Yehudit is filled with pride when she talks of her daughters and son-in-law’s work over the past few years.
“They were busy hosting, feeding, listening to Israelis who are there. A warm corner of the Land of Israel. It’s true that for them it meant being away from their family, but this is what Chabad emissaries do across the world.”
After hearing of what had happened on Wednesday evening, the couple began calling friends in Israel and worldwide, including Chabad emissaries and senior officials in the United States in order to gather some information.
“Naturally, we did not sleep all night,” says Shimon. “We are anxious and hope to hear good news. When we heard the child was rescued we breathed with relief, but we’re very worried about Rivki and Gavriel’s condition.”
They tried to contact their relatives all night, but to no avail. “Yesterday morning we spoke to her on the phone, as we did every morning. In the evening, while I was delivering a Kaballah course to women, they told us we should switch on the radio immediately.
“We tried to call them and contact them on the internet, but the entire communication appeared to have collapsed. We called the Foreign Ministry’s situation room, but they couldn’t update us on anything. Only in the early morning hours we were informed that the terrorists are holding them hostage,” the father says.
NOTHING TO WORRY
Relatives and friends have flocked to the family home in Afula, some reciting Psalms and others trying to help Yehudit and Shimon organize the trip to India.
Rabbi David Grossman, whose wife is the sister of Rivka’s father, also arrived at the family home.
“I woke up the students at the Migdal Haor yeshiva and turned to thousands of other students across the country, asking them to say a prayer for the wellbeing of Rivki and Rabbi Gavriel and the six other Israelis who are with them at the Chabad office.”
The Holtzberg family has been India for five years, after serving as Chabad’s emissaries in Thailand.
“We knew their situation there was excellent, and we even visited them there three years ago. They were in close contact with the Consulate workers and the security officers, so we had nothing to worry about,” says Rivka’s father.
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