Talking With a Terrorist: An Endless Call to India

By P.V. Viswanath – Forward

Meylekh (AKA P.V.) Viswanath on the phone with the terrorist, early Thursday morning.

On the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving I was in my office in New York, preparing notes for a finance class I was set to teach the next week. I grew up in Mumbai, India, and I had heard earlier in the day from my brother about the terrorist attacks in my hometown, but I had thought it was going to be over quickly. Then my nephew called. He told me that the Chabad-Lubavitch movement was looking for Indian language speakers to help them keep track of developing news after terrorists took over the Chabad house in Mumbai. This was the beginning of a nearly 17-hour ordeal that soon had me in prolonged negotiations with the terrorists holed up in the Jewish center, moving toward a deathly denouement.

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Bomb Scare at Chabad of Scottsdale Arizona

A member of the Mesa Police Department bomb squad heads into Chabad of Scottsdale on Thursday.

SCOTTSDALE, AZ [CHI] — At about 3:30pm today, Thursday, we received a report that there is an ongoing bomb scare at Chabad of Scottsdale. The Chabad House, including the three nearby business were evacuated. Police are investigating what they are calling a “suspicious item.” has learned thats it’s a large envelope containing written threats and other suspicious items.

The bomb squad from the Mesa Police Department was called to the Chabad House, which is near Scottsdale Road and Shea Boulevard, after a bomb-sniffing dog alerted police to the potential danger. Customers at nearby businesses were among the evacuees and there were no reported injuries.

UPDATE: 5:50pm The threat is over. The large envelope was found in a public mail area and had threats written on the outside of it with references to the terror attacks in Mumbai, India. Police did not yet know how the envelope got into the establishment.

Rabbi and Wife Killed in Mumbai Attacks Remembered in South Bay

Melissa Evans – Daily Breeze

SOUTH BAY, CA — South Bay Jewish leaders were stunned to hear that their friend and colleague, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, and his wife, Rivkah, were targeted victims in last week’s terrorist attacks in India.

Rabbi Sholom Pinson of Chabad of the South Bay attended the same school as Holtzberg and lived just a block from his childhood home in Brooklyn, N.Y.

THIS SHABBOS: A Shabbos of Unity in Crown Heights

CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn [CHI] — In response to the recent barbaric murder of the Rebbe’s Shluchim in Mumbai, the congregation of Beis Shmuel organized a special program for Shabbos day, uniting for Chizuk and inspiration. Everyone is invited to attend this special event, to Daven, Learn and Farbreng in unity, all taking place on Shabbos day in Oholei Torah.

More in the Extended Article!

Postville Plant Reopens, Workers Still Without Money

Claire Kellett – KCRG TV

POSTVILLE, IA — After more than two weeks of sitting still, limited production picked back up inside the Agriprocessors meat packing plant in Postville Wednesday. But Wednesday night, workers still without a job there say this news isn’t as promising as it seems. They said that after meeting with the plant’s court-appointed trustee from New York.

Chabad Kids Commit to Massive Battle

Children from B’nos Menachem in Crown Heights excitedly looking at the school banner for the new Chayolei Tzivos Hashem program

CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn [CHI] — Last week, Lubavitcher schools worldwide began enrolling in the all-new Chayolei Tzivos Hashem, responding to a massive campaign roll-out. The elite brigade, exclusively for Lubavitcher children, marks a revolutionary new phase in the Rebbe’s vision for soldiers in Hashem’s army. In the first week since registration has opened, thousands of children have registered in over 20 schools worldwide. Schools register by emailing, and are reporting much excitement amongst the children who are eagerly awaiting their missions!

More pictures in the Extended Article!

The Weekly Sedra – Parshas Vayeitzei

The Rebbe says:

1. This week’s Torah portion begins by saying, “And Yakov (Jacob) left Be’er Sheva and went to Charan”.

To be sure, this verse is actually repeating something we already knew from the end of last week’s Torah portion.

2. The Rebbe points out that the Torah must be teaching us something by telling us this twice:

In the Torah everything is exact. In fact, our Sages learn out many Halachas (laws) from one extra letter in the Torah. Therefore, if the Torah repeats this story twice, it must be teaching us something that we can implement into our daily life. Let us find out what the Torah is teaching us:

Obama Sends Condolences to Chabad

Barak Obama during his visits to Sderot, with the letter expressing his condolences, inset.

WASHINGTON, DC [JTA] — Barack Obama sent condolences to the Chabad-Lubavitch community on the slayings of its emissaries in Mumbai.

Full letter in the Extended Article.

Chicago Tribute and Memorial to the Mumbai Massacre Victims

SKOKIE, IL [CHI] — In an amazing show of unity and solidarity more than 1300 people packed into a Skokie Hotel for the Chicago Jewish Community’s Memorial Evening of Tribute and Solidarity on Wednesday evening, 7 Kislev. The distinguished guest list included Rabbonim and Roshei Yeshiva, prominent politicians, and dignitaries from many organizations. Guest speakers included Harav Gedaliah Dov Schwartz ,Av Beis Din of Chicago Rabbinical Council, Dr. Steven Nasitir President of the Jewish Federation and Gershon Kedar the Deputy Consul General of Israel to the Midwest.

More pictures in the Extended Article.

WSJ Opinion: Mumbai and the Chabad Movement

Perhaps the most telling story I’ve heard about Chabad emissaries is that some will buy burial plots once they arrive at their distant outposts: It is a gesture to the community — and perhaps also to themselves — that they have come to stay.

I first discovered this Hasidic movement, which has captured the world’s attention since the killing of several of its members in Mumbai, after 9/11. The world no longer felt safe and in the months after the attack, my husband and I would flee to the Hamptons, driving every weekend to the East End of Long Island, long after the glamorous summer crowds had gone.

Video of the Day! – Twilight!

This weeks Living Torah, titled “Twilight” (Volume 56, Episode 221)

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Also available with Hebrew, French, Russian, Spanish and Yiddish subtitles in the Extended Article.