26 October 2014 - 2 Heshvan 5775 - ב' חשון ה' אלפים תשע"ה

A large gathering of guests, local government representatives and Chabad emissaries from Asia attended the re-opening of Chabad of Mumbai’s headquarters, also known as Nariman House, on 26 August. They assembled at the restored six-story building, which will also house Mumbai’s first memorial to the victims of the horrific terror attacks that took place eight years ago.

On 26 November, 2008, Pakistani militants descended upon Mumbai from boats, besieging the city in a three-day rampage that left more than 100 people dead. Gunmen targeted hotels, a hospital, and a restaurant in the Indian finance capital, and took the Chabad House hostage.

It resulted in the killing of the rabbi, Gavriel Holtzberg, his wife, Rivka and four visitors who were staying at the house. The Holtzberg’s 7-year-old son, who was rescued by his nanny during the bloodshed, now lives with her at his grandparents’ home in Israel. It was decided that attending the event would be too traumatic for him.

“Today, as we look to the future, our message is one of perseverance and unshakable belief in the power of light over darkness,” said Rabbi Yisroel Kozlovsky, who now co-directs Chabad of Mumbai together with his wife, Chaya.

The official reopening also serves as the starting point for the next phase of reconstruction. A planned US$2.5 million museum is to be built where the Holtzbergs lived and on the floor where most of the murders took place.

“For reasons we will never know and never fathom, six pious people along with 158 others were torn from our grasp in the most barbaric and inhuman of ways,” Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of the ChabadLubavitch movement, said during the ceremony. “Today, we fulfill a promise which was made at the funeral of Rabbi Gabi, that we would rebuild.”

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Israel’s Deputy Ministry of Foreign Affairs makes first official visit to Myanmar E-mail

Israel’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tzachi Hanegbi, conducted an official visit to Myanmar from 27-29 August 2014. This was the first official visit of its kind in 35 years by a senior Israeli official since the visit by then Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan in 1979.

Myanmar has a friendly and long standing relationship with Israel, beginning in the 1950’s, when Burma’s Prime Minister U Nu visited Israel (1959) and Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion reciprocated (1961).

In recent years, Myanmar is undergoing a process of democratization and national reconciliation, aimed at ending the conflicts between different ethnic groups. Myanmar, currently Chair of ASEAN, is developing its economy at an intensive pace, making it known in economic circles as the most recent “Tiger” of South East Asia. It has thus become an attractive destination for investors, including companies and businessmen from Israel.

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Illegal drugs found in the Philippines bound for Israel E-mail

Two parcels containing illegal drugs which were supposed to be sent to Israel were intercepted by antinarcotics agents in a warehouse of an express courier service in Pasig City, Manila.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) operatives seized two plastic packages on 11 September containing 12 sachets of 'shabu’, or methamphetamine hydrochloride, weighing 120 grams.

Undersecretary Arturo Cacdac Jr., PDEA director general, said that “a representative of the unnamed courier service sought the agency’s help after the company discovered the two outbound parcels.” Cacdac said the agents immediately went to the warehouse of the courier service on Brickstone Street in Barangay (village) Kapitolyo .

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Shanghai unveils memorial to Jewish refugees E-mail

A memorial to the more than 13,700 Jews who fled Europe to safety in Shanghai during the Holocaust was unveiled at the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum.

The memorial was unveiled on 2 September in a public ceremony. It includes a statue of six Jewish refugees, symbolising the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis, and a 110-foot-long copper wall inscribed with the names of the Jewish people known to have taken refuge in Shanghai.

Museum curator Chen Jian calls it “Shanghai’s List” — nod to Steven Spielberg’s iconic film “Schindler’s List” according to the Shanghai Daily. The names were collected by the museum with help from surviving refugees and the Israel Consulate in Shanghai.

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Fashion retailer Zara pulls Holocaust – style T-shirt from stores E-mail

Spanish fashion retailer Zara has been in the news for the wrong reasons, especially on social media. Tweets aimed at the company lambasted it for producing a child’s sheriff star shirt that resembled the uniform worn by Jews in concentration camps during the Holocaust.

The company of course apologised and the shirt was immediately pulled from its online catalogue and stores.

Negative comments began to build on social media regarding T-shirt design. According to 972mag.com the shirt was available in Zara’s Israeli, French, Albanian and Swedish online stores. It was also being sold in the UK, for children up to the age of three. The shirt had horizontal stripes, rather than the vertical ones found on the uniform the Nazis imposed on Jewish people during the Holocaust.

The word “sheriff” was also dimly viewable on the star. However, the combination of stripes and a yellow star angered many on social media.

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