Happy Birthday Moishe, in Mumbai
by Hana Levi Julian
Two of Mumbai's most luxurious hotels are darkened and the streets outside are filled with soldiers, but around a small Jewish boy this weekend the air will be filled with the light of the Hebrew month of Kislev.
Little Moshe Holtzberg will be two years old on Saturday, according to his grandfather, Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg, who arrived from Israel with his wife Yehudit early Friday to care for the boy while his parents continued to be held hostage in the Chabad House they run near Mumbai's Oberoi-Trident Hotel.
Moshe's father and mother, Rabbi Gavriel and Rebetzin Rivka Holtzberg, were reportedly unconscious when the family's babysitter fled the besieged building with their toddler in her arms early Thursday morning.
"We met with our grandchild, and it was a very emotional thing," Rabbi Rosenberg said in an interview on Voice of Israel government radio. He noted that the last time he and his wife had seen his grandchild was during the Hebrew month of Elul, which falls in Septembert.
"He is alive and healthy... The doctor checked Moishe and everything is okay, Baruch Hashem ('Thank G-d')," he said, adding that he knew nothing more about the condition of his daughter Rivka and her husband. "I am not getting any information from officials, only from the media," he said.
Rabbi Rosenberg expressed his continued hope and optimism that all would turn out for the best. "Tomorrow, Shabbat, the second of Kislev, is his second birthday. We would be happier if it were with the parents, but we believe that by Shabbat, we will see the light and celebrate with his parents," he said firmly.
"Kislev is the month of light and redemption," he continued. "The help we need now is prayers, and happiness. Act out of happiness, all together," he urged listeners.
The hopeful father added "a personal request," asking that "every woman and girl light a Shabbat candle for Rivka bat Yehudit and her husband, Gavriel Noach ben Frieda Bluma. Fill the world with light for the Heavens," he said, "and we will be rewarded with redemption."
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