Aftermath of a massacre
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Aftermath of a massacre

A tiny child crying for his mother – that’s all that remains of the once happy Holtzbergs, except for another child suffering from Tay-Sachs in an Israeli hospital.

We do not mean to minimize the tragedy of Mumbai. We do not mean to say that the more than 170 deaths there – and the hundreds injured – in last week’s terror attacks are any less important than the deaths of our own people.

But purely because they were our own we cannot help mourning differently, more personally. We have read and seen so much, in the last few days, of the Holtzbergs’ selfless lives that this family seems as real as any of our neighbors.

And their deaths have a greater claim on our emotions because they and the Israelis in their Chabad House were apparently singled out for terror because they were Jewish.

That’s a repellent, frightening thought.

Also repellent was the early spate of Internet rumors that the Mossad was behind the attacks. Those seem to have subsided with the news from Nariman House.

And then there are those who blame the victims.

According to the Nov. 27 TimesOnline, a Chabad House neighbor made the outrageous observation that “it could be that the attitudes of the Chabad, which gives the sense of an elite club for Jews alone, is part of what provoked the terrorists to target them for the attack.”

That kind of vicious ignorance is annoying but irrelevant.

We must focus on the future. We must demand a substantial Jewish communal share of Homeland Security funds. We must encourage our elected leaders – and the United Nations – to hold the perpetrators and sponsors of terror accountable. And we must aid the victims of terrorist violence. We must also support academic institutions that study the roots of terror so that someday we will be able to destroy them at the source.

What can we do now, today? Surely some fund will be begun to help support the Holtzbergs’ surviving children. (There are already funds for Israeli victims of terror.)

And then there is something else we might do. The Holtzbergs had another child who died of Tay-Sachs disease. We might contribute, in their name, to the National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases Association, 1202 Lexington Ave., #288, New York, NY 10028.

Also don’t forget that Dec. 7 is Super Sunday. UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey volunteers will be calling and asking for your contribution to Jewish causes locally and worldwide – this would be a fine way to memorialize the Mumbai victims.

RKB, L.G.

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