In addition to the incredible Holtzbergs, HY”D, four more special Jews were murdered in the Mumbai Chabad House. Herein follows a profile – courtesy of the Yeshiva World News website. Norma Schwartzblatt-Rabinowitz HY”D, Norma Schwartzblatt-Rabinowitz HY”D, Reb Bentzion Chroman HY”D, and Rav Aryeh Leibish Teitlebaum HY”D. They left behind at least 13 orphaned children under 13 as I can tell.

Norma Schwartzblatt-Rabinowitz HY”D

Norma Schwartzblatt-Rabinowitz was planning to make aliyah to Israel on Monday. The 70-year-old member of the Mexico Jewish community was volunteering during recent months in the Mumbai Chabad House.

This week, Mrs. Rabinowitz was planning to move to Eretz Yisrael to join her son and his family, who live in Bnei Brak. It was Norma who phoned Israeli consular officials in Delhi on Thursday, with a gun pointed to her head. She told consular officials there were four bodies, including Rabbi and Mrs. Holtzberg.

Because she is a Mexican national, a request was made via Interpol to inform her son and family in Eretz Yisrael as well as family members in Mexico.

Foreign Ministry and consular officials have not succeeded in locating her son, who they believe is not currently in Israel. (Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)

Rav Aryeh Leibish Teitlebaum HY”D

In Yerushalayim’s Toldos Avraham Yitzchak beis medresh, this Shabbos was a painful one, one during which chassidim exhibit great difficulty trying to overcome the pain, sorrow and loss, seeking to embrace the Shabbos malka.

According to community leaders, Rav Aryeh Leibish was a well-know figure, one who was regarded for his profound Torah knowledge as well as his ability to welcome everyone on an equal level, always part of the tzibur, always there for those in need.

Born 37 years ago, on 23 Shvat 5731 to HaRav HaTzaddik Rav Nachum Ephraim Teitlebaum Shlita, the Volover Rebbe of America. Rav Aryeh Leibish was a dominant figure in the Rebbe’s kashrus organization, one known for its pristine standard.

Rav Aryeh Leibish studied in Binyan Dovid Yeshiva in Williamsburg, under the direction of Rav Chanina
Acraham Leitner ZATZAL. His keen abilities quickly became apparent to all.

A number of people who knew him from childhood testify to his unique character, abilities and his sensibilities to the troubles of others. At age 16 he exhibited his total familiarity with hilchos Shabbos. His knowledge was not superficial, but he would cite sources in depth, from a Gemara to the last detail of a Tur Beis Yosef.
Of late, he also ran a gemach to assist avreichim whose children were getting married.
His adherence to honoring his parents was exceptional, and despite the geographical distance, he was known to be his father, the Rebbe’s right hand. Even this last trip, he decided at the last moment to travel to India to inspect a factory to assist the Rebbe Shlita, a trip that was logistically difficult for him at this time.

His last conversation was with his Rebbitzin, who immediately tried making contact with him following the breaking news of the attack, but without success.

His last Shabbos in Eretz Yisrael was spend in Bet Shemesh together with his father-in-law the Toldos Avraham Yitzchak Rebbe Shlita. At the tisch, the Rebbe gave him a long gaze, finally signaling him to start a nigun. He started a Chabad nigun, “L’Elok-kim domi nafshi ki elecha tikvasi”.
Rav Aryeh Leibish is survived by his rebbitzin, 8 children, the oldest of which celebrated his bar mitzvah about six months ago. The youngest is 10 months.

Reb Bentzion Chroman HY”D

The residents of Kiryas Bobov in Bat Yam are having difficult accepting the painful news, that the young avreich, R’ Bentzion Chroman is no longer with them. He too was among the victims in the Mumbai Chabad House, a mashgiach for the Volover Rebbe of Boro Park Shlita. He is survived by a wife and three children, with the oldest being 3.5 and the youngest 3 months.
Bentzi as he was known, was a popular figure, someone who friends explain “got along with everyone”.

Bentzi was named after Rav Bentzion of Bobov HY”D ZY”A. His father is a pillar of Torah, and Bentzi was raised in a home where learning was not just a daytime activity. His mother toils to ensure her husband is permitted to continue occupying the halls of the beis medresh.

He was educated in his early years in Bobov Yeshiva in Bat Yam and from there to Yeshiva Kochav Yaakov. He was married in 5762 to the daughter of Rav Dovid Levin of Ganei Tikvah. Shortly after their wedding they settled in Bat Yam, near Bentzi’s parents.

The young couple decided not to burden the parents, and they purchased their home with their own funds, and Bentzi then entered into the kashrus world, deciding to be self-sufficient, not wishing to
place the burden of supporting his family on anyone else.

This however did not bring an end to his limudim, and he had a late night shiur and was a regular occupant of the large Bobov beis medresh in Bat Yam during the nighttime hours.

Of late, it was known that he added to his daily learning seder and he was in the beis medresh until the very late hours of the night. During the last yomim noraim, friends commented on the intensity of his tefillos.

His last visit to India was delayed over and over again due to difficulties pertaining to his visa. Last motzei Shabbos he finally left, and was scheduled to return on Wednesday. He packed up his belongings in the hotel and headed to the Mumbai Chabad House to say goodbye to Rav Gavriel and Rebbitzin Rivka, to daven and to thank them for their hospitality. It appears the terrorists arrived shortly after him – and it is believed he tried to run for his life. His body was found on the fifth floor, shot at point blank range.

The Vaad HaRabbonim for Tzedaka in Eretz Yisrael has launched a keren to assist his family – Keren Rav Bentzion Chroman HY”D – Keren number 2732. donations in Eretz Yisrael may be made by phoning 1-800-223-636 or *072.

Yocheved Orpaz HY”D

On Thursday, Avi Orpaz was anxiously awaiting the return of his mother Yocheved, 62, from India, where she traveled to visit her daughter Ayala and her two grandchildren. They began understanding what was taking place in Mumbai, fearing the worst, trying frantically to get in touch with Yocheved. On motzei Shabbos, they received official notification, the bittern news that she was among the dead.
Orli Yezdi-Ogev, Yocheved’s sister cannot believe this is really happening. “She traveled to India to see her family, her daughter and grandchildren who she missed so much”.

The mother of four, from Givatayim, Yocheved is described by friends as “someone with a big heart”.
Avi is still unable to refer to his mother in past tense. Alon, another son, left before Shabbos for India in the hope of finding his mother. They used all their connections and contacted many Israelis with family and friends in India, hoping to track down their mother.

She arrived at the Chabad House in Mumbai and sent Ayala an email, informing her she had arrived safely. (Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)

About the author

Rabbi Yonah


  • I’m an Indian and with you at this moment of grief. I am really pained with the loss of lives in Mumbai attack. My deep condolences are with the family of Jews who lost their lives. They were our guests, but we couldn’t defend their lives. We are deeply hurt and sorry for that.

  • Muffti doesn’t mean to be inapporpriate, but why are these lovely people martyrs?

    1. a person who chooses to die rather than renounce his or her religious beliefs
    2. a person who suffers greatly or dies for a cause or belief

  • By Muffti’s definition, the perps are martyrs, at least according to their subjective understanding of Islam.

  • The English “martyr” is an inexact translation of the Hebrew “kadosh”, which includes anyone killed because he was Jewish, which was clearly the case in this set of horrible murders in Mumbai, where the one captured attacked makes it clear that they went there to kill as many people as they could. According to “mufti”‘s reasoning, the 6 million killed by the Nazis were also not martyrs, but that is not a Jewish view.

  • Additionally, it’s derived from the Greek for “witness”.
    I once read in some book that the term “martyr” is preferably not used in connection with Jewish victims as it is closely linked to Christian martyrs and also denotes self-sacrifice.

    Maven, I thought you were busy. 🙂 I’ll email you in a minute.

    Beware, Muffti knows I cherish you.

  • Froylein-

    thanks! I’ll keep my guard up and my doors locked 🙂

  • Debashis,
    I have very dear friends from India, who have family in and around Mumbai. I called them as soon as I thought was appropriate and was relieved to find out all their relatives have been accounted for and are ok. But now I mourn for all of those who were not so fortunate, Jewish and non-Jewish, and my thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones. As a Jew I appreciate your words, I only wish that it didn’t always seem that it takes a horrible tradgedy like this to show how much more people have in common than we have differences.
    I hope you and your loved ones are safe and secure, too.

  • Maven, Muffti was assuming that (a) the word ‘martyr’ was being used in English and (b) the dictionary gives reasonable definitions of english words. No one thinks that the etymological history gives the current meaning or else ‘awful’ would mean deserving of ‘awe’ and ‘sophisticated’ would mean the same as ‘corrupted’. Muffti is willing to let the jewish perspective rule on religious things but on semantics? But yeah, so far as Muffti can tell, murder and genocide are terrible but it’s victims aren’t automatically martyrs.

  • I think India government (especially, Sonia govt.) does not have the political or international acumen to deal with this scenario. India is a soft nation and so can be easily pushed around. Look at the terror attacks one after the another. The latest example is Mumabi. The younger generation of our country is either crazy for the film stars and the popular movie personalities, spend their time playing poker cards or busy in worshiping the game called cricket…huh..!