LOS ANGELES, CA [CHI] — Tuesday, December 30th, 8:00pm, over one hundred young Lubavitchers throughout Southern California came together at the Loews S. Monica Hotel to commemorate the 30th day following the untimely deaths of Rabbi Gabrielle and Rivka Holtzberg; the Chabad emissaries who were killed during the Mumbai terror attacks.
The ceremony, entitled, “Remembering Mumbai: a Shloshim Memorial” was both sponsored and hosted by The Young Chevrah of Southern California (Y.C.S.C.). Guest speakers included Rabbi Marvin Hier, Founder and Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Rabbi Josh Gordon, Executive Director of Chabad of the Valley.
The evening began with Rabbi Mendy Greenbaum, who acted as Master of Ceremonies, introducing Rabbi Hier. An intense silence filled the room as Rabbi Hier addressed the audience; “Why didn’t the UN hold an emergency session when thousands of rockets started to fall on Sederot?” he asked. “Only NOW they jump to hold emergency sessions? This is a double standard that we, as Jews, have witnessed for thousands of years.”
Rabbi Gordon delivered also strong words in his speech; “We must NEVER slump and give up like victims. We MUST rise up the way Joseph did, after he was sold into slavery!” (Book of Genesis).
The evening ended with a video presentation honoring the memory of the Holtzbergs, featuring a lesson given by the Lubavitcher Rebbe decades ago. At its conclusion, the somber mood in the room turned into one of determination and inspiration, as the audience erupted with loud applause and a standing ovation.
“I am very impressed with the amount of people here tonight to show their support,” said Rabbi Mendel Schwartz, Chairman of the Y.C.S.C. “However, I am not surprised. Everyone here realizes how important it is for us to stand together in solidarity against terrorism – not only as Jews, but as human beings.”
“We announced our plans to hold this service a short time ago. We are deeply moved and overwhelmed by the incredibly supportive response from our members,” said Dr Rubie Minkowitz, coordinator and member of the Y.C.S.C. “It is both remarkable and humbling to us that Rabbi Hier, who is one of the Jewish community’s most prominent figures, responded and accepted our invitation within a day of being asked to speak.”
ABOUT THE SHLOSHIM
The first 30 days following a burial are called Shloshim, from the Hebrew word meaning thirty. The completion of this 30 day period is profoundly significant in the Jewish religion. A service is generally conducted to honor the memory of the deceased.
ABOUT YOUNG CHEVRAH OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
The Young Chevrah of Southern California was established in order to service religious Lubavitch couples in their 20s and 30s. The Chair Committee of the Y.C.S.C. is comprised of 12 different families currently living in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, North Hollywood, West Valley, and Orange County.
Lubavitch is one of the largest Hasidic movements in Orthodox Judaism. An extremely high number of Lubavitch families are steadily moving to Southern California from throughout the United States and around the world. This has resulted in the community of young Lubavitch couples and professionals to grow at a rapid and consistent rate.
In fact, The Y.C.S.C sponsored a weekend retreat in Running Springs, CA in May, 2008 for 70 families, and a summer barbeque, which attracted 150 adults and 200 children.
They have since grown to over 150 families strong and plan to expand their programs and services.